On a routine courier mission to the beachfront residence of an Elvish lord living incognito in the human world, Messenger Nuriel Lhethannien is ambushed by a pair of very determined attackers. They’re not just chasing her, they’re out for blood. Her blood. Literally. All that stands between Rie and a very messy death are a mysterious touch of prescience, a pair of fighting knives, and a pocketful of loyal pixies.
Loyal, flesh-eating pixies. No, Rie is not your typical heroine, and she’s nobody’s damsel in distress, but who could want her dead? She’s a changeling, a human adopted by elves as a baby, less than a second-class citizen in the realms of faerie. By all accounts, she’s nothing and nobody.
Sanyare: The Last Descendant plunges us into mortal combat from its first pages, and leading with your strength is always a good choice. Ms. Haskell knows her way around a fight scene, and this story is at its very best when Rie is in action, leaping and dodging, enchanted khukuri blades flashing, and there’s plenty of action throughout.
Haskell’s fae universe is intriguing, with its element-based domains whose denizens interact with our world to a degree reminiscent of wizard-muggle relations in the Harry Potter books. Some of the side characters and subcultures—pixies, trolls, imps, and more—scream for further exploration, and the end of the story promises many revelations and adventures yet to come, as Rie confronts her rather unusual destiny.
In the course of her journey to discover the truth about the assassins, and herself, Rie collects an assortment of allies, enemies, and, yes, admirers. The romance element didn’t work so well for me as most other aspects of the story, and even considering the unusual circumstances of her upbringing, or perhaps because of that, it felt odd that the self-image of such a capable young woman, who didn’t hesitate to face down warriors and monsters, hinged so much on how others perceived her. Those are minor gripes, though, and didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the story.
Anyhow, Sanyare reminded me a lot of another fun fantasy tale with more than a touch of magic, Annie Bellet’s Justice Calling. If you’ve enjoyed that or any other stories from Ms. Bellet’s 20-Sided Sorceress series, I think you’ll like this universe too.
The flesh-eating pixies alone are worth the price of admission.
Megan Haskell’s web page (Ms. Haskell offers a preview of the first chapter and will also provide a free copy of Pixie Tamer, a prequel to Sanyare, if you subscribe to her newsletter)
>>This review is based upon a copy of the book provided to me free of charge by the author, a courtesy I appreciate, but which does not guarantee my recommendation. I strive to evaluate every book I review purely on its intrinsic merits.<<