Saiya Buchanan is a wraith, able to detach her shadow from her body and send it off to do her bidding. But, unlike most of her kin, Saiya doesn’t deal in death. Instead, she trades secrets – and in the goblin besieged city of Stirling in Scotland, they’re a highly prized commodity. It might just be, however, that the goblins have been hiding the greatest secret of them all. When Gabriel de Florinville, a Dark Elf, is sent as royal envoy into Stirling and takes her prisoner, Saiya is not only going to uncover the sinister truth. She’s also going to realise that sometimes the deepest secrets are the ones locked within your own heart.
This is a stand-alone urban fantasy novel.
Release Date: Out Now
I have previously read Helen Harper‘s Lazy Witch series so I was happy to see a new book by her – a stand alone no less. With the book located in Scotland I am familiar with the geography in and around Stirling as I have visited it on quite a few occasions. It was interesting to see how she altered Stirling – with the castle remaining the focal point in the city – while it is under the rule of the Goblin’s.
The world building is mainly centred around Stirling, which is gritty – almost medieval-like with gallows and dark, damp housing. Yet, it still has what would have been modern conveniences such as bowling alleys, clubs and upscale international dining options for those who could afford it.
Saiya has utilised her powers in such a way that she is able to survive relatively well in Stirling – she keeps to herself and will sell the secrets of others for extra food and drink. Saiya is cunning yet a caring individual who wants to be able to help her neighbours even if it leads to trouble. She wants to avoid death at all costs but when her shadow is captured she might get more than she bargained for.
Saiya and Gabriel have an interesting dynamic. Where Saiya will lie and cheat her way to safety, Gabriel believes it is the most important thing to tell the truth all the time and then work out a way to escape. Apparently Dark Elves don’t like to deceive. This parallel works well with the story showing that sometimes to be successful you have to do what is not right. By working together and trusting each other, they are able to work against the Goblins to hopefully reclaim Stirling for all.
There is a romantic element laced throughout the book which is used as a plot device to pull the characters together and trust each other in a time sensitive environment. The use of this didn’t hinder my reading experience as there was still time for the characters to be developed as individuals and as a couple.
I enjoyed this for an evening read, it feels like a well constructed complete story which left little to wonder about once I finished. Much like her other series, the book is well written and edited. I look forward to her next book.