Book Review: Omens & Artifacts
Elizabeth Hunter, who is one of my favorite authors, has a new book out in her Elemental Legacy series. For those of us who really like Tenzin, this is an exciting time. (For the record, I really like Tenzin and have written a fanfic in my head about being friends with her.)
I received this book as a free ARC, but that in no way influenced how much I loved it.
In the elemental world, reputation is everything, but gaining it can get you killed.
Setting up shop as an antiquities hunter means nothing if you don’t have clients. Benjamin Vecchio, nephew of a famed vampire assassin, is the subject of widespread speculation, but so far that speculation hasn’t translated into work.
What Ben needs is a job. A big job. A profitable job.
A legendary job.
Finding the lost sword of Brennus the Celt, the mythical Raven King of the British Isles, would make Ben’s reputation in the immortal world, but it could also draw dangerous attention. The Raven King’s gold hoard isn’t famous for being easy to find. Luckily, Ben has his own legend at his side.
Tenzin is a wind vampire who doesn’t like digging, but she’s more than happy to let Ben do the dirty work while she provides the muscle he needs to make other immortals pay attention. They’re partners. Or so Ben thinks.
But when finding this treasure puts Tenzin’s future plans at risk, will their partnership survive? Tenzin isn’t used to taking orders from anyone, particularly from a young human who used to be her student. Digging into ancient Scottish history can get you dirty. It can also get you killed.
You guys. I love Benzin. It’s been so much fun to watch Ben grow up and the way his relationship with Tenzin has developed just makes me so happy. He’s gone from a streetwise kid and ward of one of the scariest fire vamps out there to a badass in his own right. He’s obviously cool, right? I mean he’s besties with Tenzin!
Ben’s been caught up in some shady shit, due to Tenzin. (‘Shady Shit’ is probably her middle name.) But now he’s ready to step forward and own what he’s doing. He knows his target audience and needs to make a name for himself – something that’s probably easier if you’re virtually immortal and have a couple of centuries to build a reputation. But, since Ben is [still] mortal, he needs to go big or go home. Obviously, going home would result in a boring book, so that’s not the direction he chooses.
I really like how well Elizabeth transports her readers to the various settings. It’s almost as good as having the travel budget to go there myself. I’ve never been to Scotland (booo!), but it’s on my shortlist (top three after Romania and Sweden), but I feel like I have the lay of the land – at least a bit.
As always, the world building was fantastic. The consistency that Ms. Hunter shows throughout the various Elemental series is rather remarkable. Really, my only complaint is that she won’t let me dictate who shows up where. (All my books would have Carwyn, Tenzin, Cathy, Baojia, and Caspar. Oh, and Patrick.) (And Ioan. *hard stare* And Stephen.)
The combination of humor, mystery, and intrigue equals a delightfully paced book that I was unable to put down once I started. Tenzin’s relationship with Cara, the virtual assistant, made me so happy (as did her insistence on teasing Ben about putting holes in the walls of his NY loft to hang her weapons).
I cannot recommend this book more and am excited for the next Benzin adventure – which I’m assuming will continue to be filled with high jinks, gold, and witty banter (I’m a huge fan of witty banter).
You guys – I couldn’t pick just one. I have three quotes that made me happy in this book.
Tenzin had walked in rooms layered in gold, had drunk blood from solid hammered goblets, and eaten food sprinkled with its dust.
She’d taken a king for a lover who painted her body with gold dust just to see her outline on silk sheets after they’d made love.
Not included – whether or not she enhances her lady garden with real diamonds…vajazzling on a very expensive level. We know Tenzin likes shiny things. (This is one of the questions I will ask her when we hang out.)
Oh shit. Well, the neighbors’ llamas had lived a long life. Probably.
I mean, that’s just perfect. Even with no context. Maybe especially with no context. Now you’ll have to read it to find out about the llamas.
[Cathy]: “If he’d given it to you…then you’d be stuck being the vampire king of Scotland.”
“I’m not a vampire!” Ben said.
Cathy nodded. “It would certainly be an awkward and probably very short reign.”
I love Cathy and want more of her.
Solid 4.5 stars. I am SO EXCITED for the next chapter and don’t understand why Elizabeth won’t let me lock her up*, keep her supplied with gin, and write whatever I want as fast as possible. DAMN YOU, HUNTER!
*hahaha. Just kidding. I’ve totally never floated the idea of a writer’s dungeon with my PSM. Ha. Ha.