Trickster by Jeff Somers

Synopsis: Lem has ethics in using his magic. Therefore Lem is hungry and broke most of the time.

Ethics in the world of blood magic, however, is a gray area. While Lem will grift his way through life by using small glamours to make $1 bills appear as $20s, enabling him and his none-too-bright pal Mags to eat, he won’tuse other people’s blood to cast. Stronger spells require more blood, an
d hardcore magicians use Bleeders or “volunteers” to this end. Not Lem.

So when these down-and-out boon companions encounter a girl kidnapped and marked with magic rune tattoos, it’s not at all clear that they’re powerful enough to save her…or themselves. Turning to his estranged Master for help, it quickly becomes clear to Lem that not only is this beautiful, strange girl’s life all but forfeit, but that the world’s preeminent mage had big, earth-shattering plans for her—and he and Mags just got in the way.

Review: I was curious to read this novel when I discovered the cover. I did not really understand that Lem was a man, so it took me a moment to realize that in my reading. It was actually pretty funny to follow this wizard throughout the novel. I mostly used to read stories featuring women, or those where they always have a prominent place. This is not the case here. It is true that Claire is an important character in the story but she is still very much in the background compared to Lem and his apprentice Mags. It was a book quite different and enjoyable to read.

Mags and Lem are two persons well matched but they live in a fairly precarious way. I must say it is quite difficult to grow as a Trickster, especially when Lem refuses to cast any spells that are more powerful than what he can do. However, they live pretty quietly until they meet Claire, a young woman they save from a kidnapping. But strangely enough, she is tattooed all over her body with magic runes and they do not understand the meaning. But saving this woman has a significant impact on both their lives. Indeed, the most powerful mage needs her and she will do anything she can to get her back. Something that is not really to the taste of our heroes who decide to do their best to save her, especially good Lem who has a soft spot for Claire.
I liked all the characters we discover as they are all very complex. It is true that I may have loved to have more information about Claire, because we finally learn little about her. She only makes a few appearances here. Mags is cute, and we see that he would for Lem and only waits for him to ask. We understand that Lem has a concern without really knowing what it is, but they thus form a perfect duo together.
The story and plot are quite interesting although we expect the purpose and there are several lengths. Okay I admit it, I skipped a few passages when the action did not move enough for me. But then I think it’s something personal. Everything is offset by the world and the original characters that the author was able to feature.
This novel is rather an introduction to something bigger for the next one, allowing us to understand what is happening and why. A beautiful opening is announced in the last chapter. To be continued!


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