The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin - WARNING! This is the third book in a series. I cannot talk about this book without spoiling the first two. Read no further if you plan on reading Magic Lost, Trouble Found and Armed and Magical.
A girl doesn't expect a simple shopping trip to turn into a living nightmare, but that's what happens to Raine Benares when she spots a demon. An unwilling bond servant to the Saghred a stone of power that sucks out souls for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Raine has enough on her plate, what with various people, including acting Archmagus Carnades Silvanus, wanting her dead. But a whole lot more is piled on when a powerful dark mage opens a Hellgate. Having demons who want to feast on everyone on the island is bad enough, but when she finds out the Queen of Demons wants to free her husband and King's soul from the Saghred, well, saying things go from bad to worse is a pretty big understatement.
I am pretty much speechless. Seriously, can these books get any better?! Well, I know they can because I reached the end and have inklings about the next book, but oh my wow. Just one word. Amazing.
The pace of all of the novels in the Raine Benares series is awesome, but it reaches unbelievable measures in The Trouble with Demons. When you're racing against demons to save an island full of people AND trying to stop said demons releasing countless evil souls from the Saghred to do her royal demonicness' bidding, there really isn't any time to stop, pause, and take a breath. As weird as this may sound, while reading, I had to resist the urge to get up and run, to help everyone get where they needed quicker.
Raine is such an unbelievable woman. As you can tell, she's dealing with a lot of crap, and it would be completely understandable if she were to fall to pieces, but not Raine. She has strength, of the physical, mental, and emotional kind beyond belief - seriously, it's practically a miracle that this girl doesn't just drop to the floor from mental exhaustion - but realistically, the girl doesn't have time for a breakdown; lives are at stake, the ones she loves are in danger, and demons, ghosts, and Death's freaking minions are turning up around every corner, for crying out loud! The girl deserves a holiday, if not a medal. Kudos to the fictional elf.
The bond to the Saghred isn't the only bond in this novel. Magical bonds and pairings make some appearances, and what was once a mildly confusing perhaps-perhaps-not love triangle gets several kinds of complicated, and kind of scary, if you ask me. But good too. Even with having to deal with Hell - quite literally - Raine is lucky in some ways.
There are so many awesome supporting characters in this novel, I can't tell you. You come to love them, even the baddies in a love-to-hate way. I really want to go for a drink with Phaelen, Raine's pirate cousin, Sora Niabi, demonology tutor, and Archmagus Justinius Valerian; god, that would be an awesome night, the stories that would be shared! Vegard, Guardian knight and Raine's bodyguard is just awesome; he's the big brother I've always wanted - and reminds me a hell of a lot of Barak from Eddings ' Belgariad series.
The end of this book is just... there are no words. Raine realises decisions need to be made on all sorts of things, people are making their thoughts known, Raine finds herself a girlfriend in Sora for a good heart-to-heart, and things start to get seriously complicated and... well, bigger. I can't go into much more detail without spoilers. The only bad thing is that I now have to wait a whole year before I can find out what happens next.
David Eddings has sadly passed away, but never fear; we have a fantasy master (mistress?) in Ms. Shearin!
Published: May 2009
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Buy on Amazon US
Lisa Shearin's Website
My other reviews from the series:
Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares Book 1) Review
Armed and Magical (Raine Benares Book 2) Review
Other Reviews of The Trouble with Demons:
Bitten By Books
Books with Swords
The Epic Rat