Good read. This is set in the same fantasy universe as 'Steal the Dragon' but has no real overlap unless you count one letter from the Voice of Aldis. In fact, Aldis [and the Voice] are given a somewhat different spin here which is a bit jarring if you read the other first.
As much as I enjoyed Steal the Dragon, this is a better book. The hero is noble and determined to do the best by both his people [the conquerors] and her people [the conquered]. The heroine is smart, determined and talented. His people don't believe in magic - she's a mage and the killer she is hunting is a demon...
Great interplay between the characters - her "mistress" persona is hysterically. As one of the characters observes "She wields her stupidity with precision...". Fast-paced action and well thought magical theories - I really enjoyed it.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5 stars
Review: This book is part of Briggs "Sianim" series, a collection of 4 books that share a world, but nothing else. Sham grew up in the palace. Her mother was a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, her father was the head Guardsman and she was the apprentice to the King's wizard. The Cybellians invaded, her family was killed and she wound up living in the street. Now something has started killing Cybellian nobles at the castle and she's been recruited to help track down the killer.
This was an all right book, but not up to the standards of other books I've read by her. The characters were wonderful. The main characters, Sham and Kerim were wonderfully developed. I liked Kerim's role as a holy warrior who lost his calling. The plot, on the other hand, was a bit shakier. It began all right, but lost steam partway through. I thought the resolution of the killer to not quite fit with the rest of the book. It came a bit from left field and seemed a bit anti-climatic.
I didn't quite like the interaction between Kerim and Sham - they were posing as lover's in order to give her a legitimate reason to be in the castle. Of course, they start falling in love. I think the romance angle either needed to be better developed or left out entirely. As it was it was half-formed and very unsatisfying.
Overall I'd recommend other of Briggs' books (Mercy Thompson series, Alpha and Omega series, The Hob's Bargain or the Raven Duology) over this book.
One of Briggs earlier books, they come with different covers (the older books). A fun quick read about using magic, with a flirty love affair to boot.