Where I Got It: Review copy from the author (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: People who like elves, half-elves, and pigs
Publisher: Self-published (2012)
Length: 40 pages
Series: It is not clear from the author’s website where this book sits among the Half-Elven books.
Renna is a young Holder of Ren Creek Hold, trying to do the best for her folks. Her hold is one of the smaller holds, bordered by the troublesome Holder Gorsfeld, whose hold is one of the largest in the land. This tale is set shortly after the Rebellion, in which Renna played a key role as a ranger. We only hear little snippets of her ranger life in this story. Mostly, she is concerned with her hold’s pigs. Yes, the story starts and ends with pigs, specifically pet pig Black Tail. One dispute over the pigs keeps the story flowing forward. In fact, Renna was busy having such a discussion with her head man when her friend and ranger Mariah shows up to steal her away for a reconnaissance mission of a sort.
M. K. Theodoratus has built a complex world, where the Far Isle half-elves have a bit of magic. Some half-elves are stronger in magic than others, able to send people and cargo across the country, making travel easy for some. Some can cast illusions, many can increase their sense of hearing. Renna has a little magic, short stature, and a bad hip giving her a permanent limp. Mariah by contrast is a confident, beautiful woman who can command a room with a look. And she needs Renna to be her cover as she tries to catch Goresfeld and his men in bad behavior at a port city.
This story was a fun diversion from my mundane life. I enjoyed the pig farming aspects, the weaving, and that the main character was not super physically power nor uber magically powerful. Renna is average, with strengths and weaknesses, like most of us. While this tale could use a bit more editing (incorrect verb tense, sometimes I lost track of who was talking, etc.), the basic story is worth the time to read.
What I Liked: Pigs!; full spectrum of magical abilities on display; there’s weaving; a definite feel of a larger world with characters that have back stories.
What I Disliked: The tale ended a little abruptly – if the sequel is published I would suggest reading the two back to back.; the version I had needs a final editorial polishing.