Mattie Carver has relinquished the world of magic, with all its dark temptations. In six weeks, she’ll marry Ben Ward and claim the safe, small-town life she craves. But Mattie’s talents as a reliquary—someone able to smuggle magic within her body—make her a valuable commodity, even to those she trusts the most. Forced out of retirement by a painful betrayal, she must seek the help of the man she’s tried desperately to stay away from: Ben’s estranged brother, Asa.
Asa, a sensor and magic dealer, may have saved Ben months ago, but he’s complicated Mattie’s life beyond imagining. Trailed by lethal mobsters through Chicago’s seamy magical underbelly and an eerie traveling carnival, Mattie struggles to endure the priceless magic she’s holding and her feelings for Asa. Once, she thought she’d chosen her path. Now the only option may be to succumb to the destiny that’s choosing her, and hope she’s strong enough to survive.
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by 47North
Four stars: This second book notches up the action, complicates the romance, and it sets this series up for an excellent finale.
Mattie bends over gasping for breath. It has been fifteen months since Ben was kidnapped, and now she is set to be married in six weeks. As she gains her composure, she glances in the mirror seeing skin and bones, her wedding dress hanging on her gaunt frame. Hopefully, she can restore her health and her sanity before her upcoming nuptials. Since her return, Mattie has tried to forget the magical world and restore her relationship with Ben. Unfortunately, she can't quite erase Asa from her mind. Just when things seem like they will be okay, Ben delivers devastating news. Then Maggie is betrayed and forced into carrying some deadly magic. There is only one person Maggie trusts to save her, but will he help?
What I Liked:
- I am happy to report that Splinter restored my confidence in Ms. Fine. I don't know what it was about Reliquary, but there was just something about that book that I didn't love. This book gets the series on track with another thrilling adventure with lots of danger, twists and turns and a complicated romance. I very much enjoyed this book.
- Mattie continues to be a work in progress. I like her, but I continue to struggle with her indecisiveness and her loyalty. However, she shows lots of courage, she grows up even more in this one. I liked that she did what it took to save herself and those she loved. By the end, I was most pleased with the new path she chose. I have high hopes for her for the final book.
- Asa continues to peel back his layers and show his most vulnerable side. He is complex, yet lovable, and I love how he is always thinking on his feet. I am always eager to see what he is hiding in his pockets, and no this isn't a sexual innuendo. Not to mention, how can you not love a man who is so devoted to his battered dog, Gracie?
- The romance is so wicked and frustrating, yet I can't get enough. First, it is sort of a love triangle but not really because deep down in her heart, Mattie knows who she wants, and so does the reader. I never had a doubt whom she would choose. This is a long, slow burn romance that will drive you nuts as you wait for that delicious moment. It is hard fought and beautiful when it roots. Just be patient and watch the magic.
- I am enthralled by this world and the concepts that Ms. Fine has created with this series. I love the originality of it all. You are immersed into a world with magic and people who possess it and can influence others either through pain, pleasure, manipulation or sensing. I loved the creativity and seeing more of the magic.
- I liked the carnival setting. Believe me this is like no other carnival you have ever encountered. I wish I could say more, but I won't, you have to read it for yourself. I will tell you that this carnival uses magic, and things aren't what they seem, and once you learn the truth, it is comical.
- Like with the first book, this book is full of non stop action and deadly characters. Some of the villains are downright scary. Once the action starts, it doesn't hardly let up. You won't be bored with this one. Prepare for lots of twists and betrayals. You have to be on your toes throughout!
- The ending is nice and satisfying, and in all reality, the series could end with this book because most of the story lines are tied off, but luckily for us, it isn't going to stop just yet. There is still one small niggling little story line that has to be concluded involving the mysterious Teresa. I can't wait for what is next.
And The Not So Much:
- Alright now we have to address the big irritation with this book: Ben. Mattie's fiancé is present throughout most of the book, and the more I got to know him, the less I liked him. In fact, I can't stand him, I wanted to kick him in the nether regions, and I was so frustrated with Mattie. I couldn't believe that she still put up with him after what he did again and again. She totally should have kicked his butt to the curb, but she is too nice. I will say, he does sort of redeem himself a tiny bit, but I still don't like him. It drove me nuts that Mattie didn't hate him.
- It has only been a couple of months since I read the first book, and I still felt lost. This book has hardly any recap, and there is so much to keep track of. There are all the different types of magic, and those who wield it, and a huge cast of characters. Especially when things get fast and dangerous, it was hard to remember who was who. All these villains show up from the first book, and I couldn't keep them straight. This is definitely not a series you can read out of order. I wish there was a bit more refresher on the characters and the magic.
- There were parts in the book were there was just too much going on. I hated that I felt lost when all these bad guys keep popping up, and I didn't know who was who or what side they were on. It got confusing.
Splinter gets this series on track. I loved the excitement and danger as well as all the magic. There is never a dull moment in this one. I also enjoy the eclectic characters. The romance is one that drives me crazy, but I can't get enough. This is a series that requires patience, but I love that is smart and sophisticated and unlike anything I have read before. If you want unique, check this out.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.
Check out the other two books in the series: