Wild Card by Lisa Shearin
Welcome to Saturday Shorts where we feature short stories and novellas. Wild Card is a prequel to Lisa Shearin’s Raine Banares series. Though the book is technically fantasy, taking place on a world that is more Medieval Europe than current day, the story read like an urban fantasy.
Publisher’s Description: My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker, a finder of things lost and people missing. I’ve never had to do both in one day, or had this many lives at stake—including mine.
The search for a missing ring leads me to the abduction of eight magically gifted children. Their souls were stolen while they slept, and unless I find those souls by sunrise, their bodies will die.
Both cases have one thing in common—they’re linked to a goblin secret society high-stakes poker game, whose members are practitioners of the blackest of black magic. As a seeker, I can track those captured children’s souls, but to spring them will take magic I haven’t got.
That’s where Tamnais Nathrach comes in. He’s the seductive embodiment of sin itself. He’s also a goblin dark mage with an even darker past, the owner of the city’s most notorious casino—and the only person with magic enough to reach the kids in time.
Why are the most dangerous predators the most beautiful?
The stakes are high; the odds of success are low. And I’m betting with my life—a life I’ll have to trust to a darkly tempting goblin mage I just met.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).
Main characters: Raine Benares, a seeker, has a straighter moral compass than some of the rest of her family. She can find anything or anyone but draws the line at finding things that don’t belong to the potential client. Tamnais Nathrach, proprietor of Sirens and a dark mage. He is the former magical enforcer and right hand man for Queen Glicara Mal’Salin, ruler of goblin court. Of course he’s got to be gorgeous, sexy and dangerous. *insert dramatic sigh here* Also, Raine’s possible love interest.
Other characters: Lady Kaharit, Raine’s client is portrayed as a woman not to be messed with. Her husband, Sethis Mortsani, an evil nachtmagus (necromancer – think of Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price), has a gambling problem and is stealing jewels from his wife. Chief Janek Tawl, human and watcher. A watcher is basically police. Malina Adler, a white hat nachtmagus, works with the police.
World: Raines world is the City of Mermeia in the kingdom of Brenir. Brenir consists of five islands that separate five districts. Humans, elves, goblins, with two islands reserved for magic users of all races.
Story: The story starts out with Raine finding a client that needs to find a piece of jewelry. Usually this kind of thing is right up Raine’s alley, but complications set in when Raine finds out the gems stolen from her client are used as vessels. Each gem is holding a kidnapped child’s soul. Raine and her cousin Phaelan join forces to get the gems back and the children released. Pretty straight forward? Uh…no. That’s just the short game. The long game has to do with Tamnais Nathrach, his wife’s death and his departure from royal court. Did I mention that he’s ever so hot and is a possible love interest? If this goblin has ½ as much charisma as Lord Rake Danescu from Shearin’s SPI files, I’m going to be in big, big trouble. Oh, boy….this is gonna be the good kind of trouble!
Overall: This novella, 83 pages to be exact, was a fabulous introduction to Raine Benares and her world. It was a quick read and it’s not necessarily necessary to read this novella first, but it gives you an idea of how Raine and Tamnais meet. Maybe this is discussed in the following series, but it’s a quick couple hour read to get you acquainted. Word of warning: Lisa Shearin is a master of storytelling and she has gotten me hooked to yet another of her series.
After reading and liking her SPI Files series, I thought I’d give Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series a try. I started with the audio of Wild Card, a prequel story to the series.
Wild Card is a quick adventure story about Raine, her criminal cousin Phaelan, and a seductively handsome goblin mage, Tamnais Nathrach, saving the souls of children being used as chips in a high-stakes poker game. This story gives me a little background about Raine and her family as well as the world she inhabits.
The narrator, Eileen Stevens, does a pretty good job with the voices. I haven’t listened to Stevens before, but her voice is good. I might look into speeding up the narrative just a bit, though.
I both read and listened to this story. Reading it didn’t do much for me (but admittedly, I was sick at the time and possibly not focusing well), but the audio did much more. I like not having to worry about how to pronounce the names when I listen to the audio – a benefit I hadn’t thought of before.
Overall, I think I will listen to the Raine Benares series rather than reading it, and I’m looking forward it.