SPFBO Review: Strangehold by Rene Sears

34997223Another one of Wol’s hopefuls makes it into my eyeholes today! Woooo!

Morgan Tenpenny has retreated from her painful, magical past, choosing to live quietly as a guardian of one of the gates between worlds. But her sister Gwen is married to a lord of the High Court of Faerie—and when Gwen asks her to protect her nieces, it’s time for Morgan to emerge from her seclusion. The gates to Faerie have inexplicably closed, and no one knows why, not even Falcon, the fae Morgan finds trapped on her side of the gate.

As a devastating illness that only affects magic users starts to sweep through the country, Falcon tells Morgan of a way to reach her nieces in Faerie through a mysterious place called Strangehold—if Morgan can trust that Falcon is all that he seems. But with the Queen of Faerie increasingly defensive of her borders, even their combined powers may not be enough to win them through.

With relations between fae and human falling apart and a deadly illness threatening all of her old colleagues, Morgan finds that her past isn’t as dead as she’d thought. She must navigate the threats in time to save her nieces—and just maybe the world.

Someone had a sense of humor; the backdoor to underhill was in Underground Atlanta.

This story follows Morgan Tenpenny, a spellcaster in our own world, who is one of the people who knows the truth of things; that the Fae are real, their world of Faerie is real and is connected to Earth, and that humans and the Fae have long held a treaty of peace.

But one day, all of the gates to Faerie (underhill) close, leaving Fae stranded on Earth (overhill), and leaving Gwen, Morgan’s sister and the ambassador to humans in Faerie stranded on the other side. On top of that, an unexplained illness that seems to only affect spellcasters is running rampant throughout the nation, to the point that even the humans have noticed.

It’s up to Morgan to try and find a back way into Faerie to save her sister and her two half-fae nieces that she’s sworn to protect. And that back door might just be a sort of middle-ground known only as Strangehold.

Dun dun duuuuunnnnnnnn.

This one was a really short read, coming in at only about 160 pages. I quite enjoy a story I can sit down with for an afternoon and I do quite love me some urban fantasy. That said, I still had a bit of a tough time getting into this one at first, but rest assured, I was hooked before long.

I really liked the characters in this one. Morgan is an interesting character for an urban fantasy, in that she’s not a twenty something running around flinging magical powers hither and thither. She’s actually in her early forties, and is rather responsible with her magic, while still being carefree as a human who can cast magic would be, I would hope. She’s still someone I could often relate to. She’s like a slightly older me…. with magical powers. 😀

Morgan runs into a fae that is trapped on the overhill side of the gates, a guy who is cursed to turn into a falcon at night, who introduces himself, appropriately, as Falcon. I really liked him as a character, being archaic and old-fashioned while not being all the way old fashioned. He accompanies her on her way to Strangehold, mainly because he’s been summoned by the queen of the fae and didn’t quite make it to the gate on time. He still feels the summons though, so he’s trying to actually do as ordered. Falcon ends up being quite a lot more than he seems at first, and finding out all the details was interesting.

This plot wrapped up nicely, while leaving more room in this world for more stories, which was nice. All told, this was a pretty enjoyable afternoon of reading, and I think I may just read the next book in the series to see where this goes! I had 8/10 stars of a good time with this one.


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