Title: The Eye of Odin
Publisher: Stag’s Head Books
Author: Dennis Staginnus
Recently, I have discovered the pleasures of free ebooks. Don’t worry, I’m careful. I hate pirate sites and I really, really do not understand people who download illegal ebooks. Yes, that is theft. There’s no justification for it.
To be on the safe side, I stick to (relatively) reliable sites like Barnes and Noble, and the sites of the individual authors. One of the many free ebooks that I downloaded in the last week was “Double Cross,” the first prequel to the forthcoming The Eye of Odin by Dennis Staginnus. Immediately after finishing “Double Cross,” I downloaded the second prequel, “Fated,” for a whopping 99 cents.
I was hooked pretty much from the first sentence. “Double Cross” introduces us to Sarah Finn, a Scottish witch all of fifteen years of age and already out in the world running missions for the Supreme Coven. The world is divided into Folklores — distinct cultural pantheons such as those of Greece and Egypt — and it is up to the Coven to keep the peace. That means not only hiding the existence of the Folklores from the mundane world (the Outland), but also making sure that magical objects remain with their native Folklore, or even the distinct Kingdom within that Folklore (Athens and Sparta do not get along). A lost, stolen, or misused artifact could have cataclysmic consequences.
Unfortunately, Sarah not only has enemies within the Folklores, but also in the Outland. The Inquisition is still very active, and determined to wipe out the witches, the Folklores, and anything else which it cannot control or deems too different. We meet an Inquisition assassination team in the second installment “Fated” — and, boy, are they nasty.
Sarah is a terrific character: she sees the world as it is, but still wishes it were better, and works to make it that way. In Athens, for example, she allows one of the bad guys to get away, recognizing that it is the lesser of two evils; she still hates it, though. She is also self-confident, but not totally kick-ass. When faced with the assassination squad in “Fated,” she works through her fear, adapting to the increasingly desperate situation.
Sarah is ably assisted, or mentored, by Grigsby. A centuries-old elf, Grigsby suffers from the same ennui as many of his long-lived people. To alleviate the boredom, he regularly “recreates” himself: he spends the two prequels in cowboy gear, badly mangling a John Wayne accent.
Based on what I have already read, I can’t wait to see the full-length The Eye of Odin. Highly recommended to fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mystery series, and anyone looking for a strong female protagonist.
[Previously posted at BookMusings.]