Tis the Season for Theft, Snark, and Widdershins

LostCovenantLost Covenant
Ari Marmell
Pyr Books
279 pp, hardcover $17.99 US/$19.50 Can
ISBN 978-1-61614-811-9
ebook $11.99
ISBN 978-1-61614-812-6

At this time of year, it’s customary to reflect on upon the things for which one is thankful.

I’m thankful for Mastercard Fraud Division.

I’m thankful that my car, which normally runs perfectly but lately has developed the troublesome habit of dying without warning while moving, hasn’t killed me yet.

I’m thankful this blog was shortlisted for an award.

I’m thankful that there’s a new Widdershins novel about to hit the shelves.

And of course I’m thankful to Lisa Michalski at Pyr books for sending me an ARC so I can read it ahead of time.

You’ll recall I thoroughly enjoyed the first two Widdershins novels, Thief’s Covenant (reviewed here) and False Covenant (reviewed here).

In this one Widdershins becomes aware of a plot against House Delacroix,.  Since it was Alexandre Delacroix who rescued her from life on the streets, she takes it upon herself to intervene on behalf of the House as a way of repaying the late Alexandre.  She ends up in the town of Aubier trying to convince the last matriarch of the house that she’s a friend.  All the while dealing with a mad alchemist, a brutal gang of thugs, and the matriarch’s son, who is somewhat smitten by Widdershins (perfectly understandable).

Meanwhile, back in the city of Davillon, things are getting ugly…

There’s plenty of action and intrigue.  The identity of the traitor in House Delacroix was subtly foreshadowed so that when I found out who it was, my reaction was “I should have seen that.”  Of course there’s the snark.  Wouldn’t be a Widdershins novel without it.


Start reading here.

I wasn’t entirely happy with one aspect of how the previous book in the series ended.  (If you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean.)  But the direction Marmell takes Widdershins in this latest installment is a good one.  Widdershins is outside her comfort zone in ways that have nothing to do with magic.  Before the book is out she’s going to learn some things about herself that will change her understanding of life.

One of these has to do with her attitude regarding killing someone.  In the past she’s only taken a life as a last resort and always regretted it.  By the end of the novel, Widdershins will be forced to confront a situation in which the best option is to become a killer.  It’s definitely a rite of passage for Widdershins, and Marmell doesn’t shy away from the implications of that choice.  Of course, he doesn’t get all morbid about them, either.  This is a YA novel, after all.  But it’s a YA novel that doesn’t shy away from some hard ethical considerations.

Another thing I liked about how Marmell handled character development is that he didn’t pretend the events of the previous novel had no lasting effects on Widdershins.  I was expecting the obvious emotional wounds from False Covenant‘s ending.  What I wasn’t expecting were the aftereffects of the trauma Widdershins went through.   She and her personal god Olgun both experience deep rage, rage that Marmell goes to some lengths to let us know is something Widdershins has been dealing with since the end of False Covenant but not before.

I suspect this is something he’s going to develop further in the next book.  (Things are getting really ugly in Davillon.)  And there will definitely be a next book.

Which come to think of it, is something else for which I’m thankful.

Lost Covenant hits shelves on December 3, two days from now.  Look for it and give yourself a Christmas present.  You’ll thank me.

One thought on “Tis the Season for Theft, Snark, and Widdershins

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