Series: Ustari Cycle #1
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Book Trailer: View Trailer
Published by Pocket Books on February 26, 2013
Cover Artist: Chris McGrath
Reviewed by: Chris
Praised by the Guardian for stories that are “exhilarating . . . powerful and entertaining,” Jeff Somers returns with a darkly original urban fantasy series featuring a cadre of mages operating just under the radar of human society.
Magic uses blood—a lot of it. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster, performing only small Glamours like turning one-dollar bills into twenties. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by.
That is, until they find young Claire Mannice— bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality— and Lem just got in her way.
TRICKSTER is a book that has restored my faith in the urban fantasy genre as a whole. Jeff Somers has created a wholly original world that, even with magic, feels incredibly real.
The book centers around Lem – one of the world’s blood mages. And, yep, blood mages are exactly what they sound like. In this world there are two types of mages – those who use bleeders and those who supply their own blood for their magics. Lem is one of the latter.
The title comes from how the low-ranking, barely enough skill for a glamour mages refer to themselves. They are – almost to a man – con artists, thieves and grifters. They survive using little spells like making a crumpled up one dollar bill appear as a twenty. They’re scraping by and for the most part ignore (and are ignored themselves) by the more powerful magic users of the world. At least that’s how it was for Lem before he found Claire Mannice tied up in the trunk of a car. Now Lem’s in the thick of it and fighting just to keep himself and his friends alive.
I understand if right now you’re thinking I was a little hyperbolic in saying how this book restored my faith in urban fantasy. You’re just going to have to trust me and give this book a try. Seriously. It has everything. It has an incredibly well-thought out magic system, wonderful world-building, characters who not just break, but shatter, the cookie-cutter stereotypes so common to the genre and a plot that moves along at breakneck speed. Hell, it even has a dash of kinda-sorta romance in it for those who are in to that sort of thing.
To put it another way: I loved TRICKSTER so much that even though I received an ARC, I’ve already pre-ordered four copies of it. One copy to put on my shelf (and I almost never buy anything but eBooks anymore) and three copies to let friends borrow. That’s how much I loved this book.
Do yourself a favor and read what should rightfully be one of the biggest urban fantasy releases of the season.