RogerBW's Blog

Magician's Hoard, Celia Lake 14 December 2022

2019 romantic fantasy, third of its loose series. Proserpina Gates, widowed bookseller, is helping a client find a rumoured Roman treasure on her land. Ibis Ward is the scholar she engages to assist with the research…

This is a book with an odd arc. It starts off with Pross and Ibis meeting, realising they have bigger problems than a research puzzle, and so deciding that while they are certainly attracted to each other they aren't going to be hopping into bed just yet… and then everything except the romance gradually fades into the background. Yes, that's fine, but I do actually want to know what fascinating item was in the hoard, not just that it was found and everything was all right. I mean, you don't even tell me whether all that work about which god it might be associated with paid off!

So perhaps call it fantastic romance rather than the romantic fantasy you might get from say Mercedes Lackey in her Elemental Masters series. Much more attention goes to how Pross will tell her daughter that this man will be entering their lives than to what she learns about ancient treasure caches. Someone who's been a nuisance gets handed over to the Guard (the magical world's police) and nobody seems to care about just who's been paying him to do it, even as they're working to unravel a conspiracy that turns out to be more about laziness and self-interest than for anything more productive. I do like the way that there are actually trustworthy law enforcers and they can do the dangerous stuff that's their job, but at the same time it can feel anticlimactic.

I liked the people, but I could have done with less elision of the actual plot.

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Previous in series: Goblin Fruit | Series: Mysterious Charm | Next in series: Wards of the Roses

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