Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Guild Review Team
I loved this so much. The silliness and sitcom-like antics of the first book in the trilogy is still there, but the emotional facets of the story have been pushed deeper. Not only do we have Quinn Broomsparkle and Twig Starfig (known to his dragon mother as Twig the Puny, because he’s half dragon/half fairy, and thus only a small dragon); we also have the unlikely character of Bill (real name unknown), who is a red fury demon who affects horn-rims, sweater vests and bowties. Then there’s Pie, the drunken ghost pirate parrot, and a tiny ball of fur that nobody quite understands the true nature of, but they call her Cookie. This is the family of Twig Starfig, much to the chagrin of his power-hungry father, Auric. He and Quinn are the only dragon/human familiar pair in the world, and Quinn is the first wizard (male witch) in a millennium.
Sent to find the all-powerful war hammer of a legendary troll, Starfig Investigations manages to find only a disappointing artifact. And then people start dying. Suddenly the disappointing artifact seems more interesting than it did, and our brave duo (because they are brave, and that matters) get sucked into something that gets bigger and more sinister (and more violent) by the minute.
Meanwhile, demon Bill’s boyfriend is looking a bit skanky, and Twig’s father is being a political pain in the you-know-what, pushing Twig in his run for city council of Lighthelm. Interestingly, politics in the magical realm of Elder is just as scuzzy as it is in, well, here. Now. The evil dwarf politico who looks just like our concept of Santa Claus is worth the price of admission.
Maslow moves this story along, with lots of humor, great attention to detail, and a kind of rollicking goofiness that means I’ll never read Lord of the Rings the same way again. It is hard to take all that ponderous grandeur seriously when you’ve got Quinn and Twig and Bill trying to be heroic and unleashing all sorts of disaster. The big surprise for me was the emotional power that rises up in the last part of the book. I was moved to tears, and startled by that fact.
It’s a romance, underneath all the glitter and the laughter, and it’s a great romance. I can’t wait to read book three. That’s for tomorrow.