Shadow (Shadow & Dagger #1)

Title: Shadow

Author: Anne Logston

Series: Shadow & Dagger #1

Shadow is a thief who steals a little more than she bargained for when she enters the city of Allanmere. Somehow the little magical bracelet she pickpocketed is the lynchpin of a much larger mystery. She’ll need all her skills to figure out what’s going on before the fallout gets her killed.

This is a bit of an odd one. Shadow herself is almost perpetually happy, as she goes around stealing whatever she can get her hands on and settling herself for a time in this new place. As an elf, she’s naturally long-lived, and has had a lot of experience being a thief. She spends most of her time stealing, getting drunk, or getting high on dreamweed. And because elves are very rarely fertile, she also beds anyone who catches her fancy. (And although she mentions STDs at one point, thus showing they do exist in this world, she herself seems to have no concern about catching one, even though given her habits and her lifespan she surely must’ve bedded someone by this point who was infected with something.)

I liked her upbeat demeanor, but I found her constant thefts hard to believe. She’s stealing (and spending) thousands—a level at which one might reasonably expect the offended parties to start hunting her down. But none of her marks really exists in the story except as a ready source of money, nor does the story really care about the probable consequences of redistributing such vast amounts of wealth in such a short timeframe.

The mystery works well enough, but I didn’t really care for the conclusion. I was hoping for some better reason why a bracelet that could open any lock would be important. Instead it’s just a tangle of human rivalries, where the most interesting bits of magic are more or less tangential. Read if you want, but I rate this book Neutral.

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