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5.0 out of 5 starsI loved this book
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2016
Larry Dixon and Mercedes Lackey have done it again! I loved this book. The rock and roll feel, the 80's vibe, the cars, the Elves, the Undead....Fantastic!
3.0 out of 5 starsA twist on elves with a social issue subtheme
Reviewed in the United States on December 26, 2014
First in the SERRAted Edge urban fantasy series revolving around elves, magic, and racing cars. The focus is on Tannim.
My Take It's an enjoyable story — using the sportscar racing as the story's setting is a unique twist — and must be some of Lackey's early writing as it is rather juvenile and could use some work. That said, it is clever with a clever substitution, replacing the iron in cars with fiberglass and other nonferrous materials to make it easier for elves to be around all that Cold Iron. I love the ease of using an elvensteed to test out prototypes in a wind tunnel too!
I like how "Tannim" describes magic as a discipline: "a way of describing an inborn talent that's been trained. It has rules, and it obeys the laws of physics. It uses the energy produced by all living things; it also uses the energy of magnetic fields, of sunlight, and a lot of other sources. It's a tool, a way of manipulating energies;…". Things are only impossible because they haven't been done yet.
A nice bit on how SERRA was formed. Lackey/Dixon almost make it believable that humans were using magic before the elves arrived on scene.
Tannim has a very different approach to teen hookers. Expensive, but a good way to begin to earn their trust. One he'll use to help Tania who has run from a different, but still crippling kind of abuse. I'll say it again, some people should not have children. The Catholic Church is so big on counseling before you get married; I wish they (and others) had a similar policy on counseling parents. Although, considering the Church's reputation for what they do with children, maybe that's a good thing.
Who knew elves would need money? I much prefer the Seleighe Court's reasons and methods to that of their rivals.
It is funny how Aurilia is the smart one but also the lowest in status; watching her manipulate her partners is interesting. The evil triad is shocked to learn that Fairgrove's elves are training humans to battle other elves, revealing their secrets, and I can see why it would be seen as a bad thing. Even if I can't get behind their plans.
It's a crunch of desires: the triad wants to take out Keighvin and doesn't care who they hurt to destroy him. It's only by luck, good planning, and good living that some of them escape. Although, there certainly were a number of incidents that could have been avoided if the Seleighe had been thinking. It's that first battle that steps things up between them, for it brings Niall over to Aurilia's way of thinking. Not so good for our side.
We sure get a tonnage of useless description. I'm not usually one to reject a "painting" of the setting, but I do like to have a purpose behind it. Especially when the authors are so keen to give information that makes you wonder what event they're prepping you for. It's such a letdown when nothing results. Now, when it comes to Tannim's bed…that makes sense.
That Foxtrot Xray is too funny when he morphs from Oberon to an aircraft-carrier parking director!
The Story Fairgrove Industries has done well in designing cars and creating innovative engines, but now they need a front man. Someone who can be convincing enough to outmaneuver Fairgrove's enemies.
It's Tannim's job to convince the retired Sam Kelly to come out of retirement and put his reputation on the line.
For the Unseleighe are determined to take down the Seleighe and wreck their foray into human life. Even as they crank up their own entry into the human world with their snuff films and pornography.
The Characters Tannim is a human mage employed at Fairgrove Industries, a racing firm that's creating some innovative engines. He drives a much-loved, almost sentient dark red Mustang. Chinthliss is a dragon shifter and Tannim's mentor.
Sam Kelly was a starving and abused little boy. As an adult, today, Dr. Sam (he has an electrical engineering degree) has retired from his job as a metallurgist at Gulfstream. His father, John, was brokenhearted over the death of his wife, Moira. It's Keighvin who gives John a second chance to do right by his son. What happened to his great-uncle Patrick makes it easier for Sam to believe in the Fair Folk.
Keighvin Silverhair is Tannim's boss and an elf who was raised by humans. Rosaleen Dhu is his elvensteed. Tannim reckons a fourth of the SERRA members are either elves or human mages. Donal is one of three elven mechanics who can be around a lot of Cold Iron. Conal is Donal's twin with the scorched head and a fellow prankster. Rob, a.k.a., Skippy, van Alman is Donal's human shadow. Dottie, Jim, Cuil, Kieru, and Janie are in that first battle as well. Tannim finds out that Padraig, Sean, and Siobhan's interest in polo comes in handy.
Ross Canfield is getting a second chance to make things right. Marty is the guy his wife married. The Old Man is a good mentor, and Foxtrot Xray is another good friend, though Ross knows Foxtrot is a part of the spirit world but not a ghost. Vanessa is another ghost, a child hooker before she died.
Derek Ray Kestrel is a friend of Tannim's with a knack for magic and spends his time with cars and guitars.
Kevin Barry is a pub Tannim frequents. Terra Nova is a Celtic band that Trish, the pubowner, sings for sometimes. Julie is a waitress at the pub. Marianne is the barkeep.
Tania Jane Delaney is the underage hooker who catches Tannim's eye. Jamie, an addicted lad who gets his money by hooking, and his girlfriend, Laura, another hooker, are Tania's roommates and friends. Meg had been her only friend as a child. And only because they had the same time for tennis lessons. Joe, Tonio, and Honi are other roommates. Unwelcome ones.
The Unseleighe Court
Bane-Sidhe, a.k.a., banshee, get their energy from your fear and from your dying. Aurilia nic Morrigan is in partnership with Vidal Dhu and both are with the local Unselieighe Court; Niall, a Bane-Sidhe, is a third partner in Adder's Fork Studios (they don't bother keeping records; its actors are either volunteers or don't survive the experience), a pornographic film studio.
Both sides fear King Oberon.
George Beecher is a private investigator with Bruning, Inc. who finds out the truth behind the job too late. Terry is a cop who works in Vice; he is friends with George and with Tannim.
Sidhe, the Kindly Ones, the Lords of Underhill, the Old People, the Fairies, and the Fair Folk are all names for elves.
The Cover and Title The cover is black and gold with a touch of red in Aurilia's brief red dress as she prepares to lash out with her fire magic at a young couple. It's a black racing car behind her with a city skyline behind that. The title combines font styles to look as though "run" is on the run with the wind whistling through it, making ripples in the letters. The whole title and the data on the series information both look like decals from a racing car: the title is black against a golden brown background while the series info is golden brown against a black background and both are outlined in red.
I think the title is about Tannim, as he is Born to Run with that Mustang of his!
I've always enjoyed Lackey's novels, but this one turned me off. The problem for me was the use of child (s)exploitation and snuff to establish the bad guys. While the "action" was not described explicitely, and no characters were actually mistreated in such a manner, Lackey didn't hesitate to describe what WOULD happen, including how it would be done (without being too explicit of course). The use of snuff and child exploitation as a plot device definately left me cold. Perhaps that was the intention. I felt it was out of place. Instead of making me agry at the antagonist, it made me angry at the author. It's one thing if it's social allegory. It's totally another when it's in a novel written for entertainment value, one that will probably be read by young teens (There's a nice letter to runaway children in the back suggesting places to go for help, but it still left me cold). If you think it won't bother you, go for it. It's not a bad story, and the bad guys get punished (for the most part). But be warned.
Brilliant concept, but Lackey pulls the same trick here that she does in many of her other novels -- lots and LOTS of exposition that ultimately slows down the plot. Pages and pages of descriptions of streets, of trees, of car racing engines, followed by chapter-long discussions between characters in which each quote is half a page long. Who really speaks like this? And who really wants to sit still and read that much overblown dialogue? But when Lackey gets down to brass tacks, her action and magery sequences are edge-of-your-seat entertaining and absolutely top-notch. I just wish there were more of those and less talk. If you liked this novel, you'll love "Chrome Circle," which follows Tannim in a life-or-death adventure Underhill. You'll probably also get a kick out of Lackey's Diana Tregarde novels, including "Children of the Night" and "Jinx High."
The best part of this book is the hero/main character, Tannim; a human mage who has a big heart with a soft spot for kids in tough places. He shares this sentiment with the good elves who race cars to get money becaues you just can't hand over a handful of silver coins to a needy mother these days without something going wrong!(what ever happened to those good old days?) I loved to follow this infectiously lovable and completely human character on his jaunts through the real world and the not so real. His faults are completely believable and make you like the guy all the more (if that is even possible) and makes you hold you breath as he gets into scrapes and hard spots galore! If you don't fall in love with Tannim and wish to hear more and more and more about him, you really need to see a doctor because you head isn't working too well! (No offense!) A great read and worth every penny!
Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2012
I downloaded this for free from the publisher website, Baen.com. I probably wouldn't have paid for it due to the description, but I would have been missing out on a really enjoyable book. Like one of the other reviewers said, elves, race cars, mages and an evil kiddie porn-snuff ring are a rather strange combination, but it worked well.
4.0 out of 5 starsGood, but could have been better.
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2003
So far, this is my least favorite of the SERRAted Edge novels. The things that really carried the book were Sam, Tannim, and Keighvin: old cranky Irishman, modern mage, elf. Cranky Irishman, modern mages, and elves just about ALWAYS make a book good--and the ywork for this one. Definitely worth the read, if just to stare at elves, even if it's just in the imagination.