Author: Sharon Lee
Publication: Baen; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Description from Publishers Weekly: A tourist town in Maine hosts a war of faerie magic in this engaging urban fantasy. The fireworks begin when Kate Archer returns to Archers Beach, Maine, to search for her vanished grandmother, Bonny Pepperidge, and to assume Bonny's role as Guardian of Fun Country, an amusement park whose carousel animals are actually exiled fae criminals. Almost immediately, Kate runs afoul of neighbor Joe Nemeier, a drug smuggler who sets his assassins after her. Then she learns from the local earth spirits that Bonny may have discovered the whereabouts of Kate's mom, newly escaped from a pursuing demonic captor. Lee brings these disparate subplots together in a pyrotechnic finale that plays out magically behind the ordinary facade of smalltown Maine life, evoking much of the romance and magic of her popular Liaden series.
My Thoughts: What a thoroughly enjoyable book! Kate is coming home to the town that she exiled herself from ten years previously. She is worried that she hasn't heard from her grandmother. She immediately finds herself embroiled in a number of natural and supernatural problems. The town wants the amusement park opened weeks early; the wards that keep some of the animals on the carousel imprisoned are weakening. Assassins are targeting Kate and the land is in need of her help.
Kate is an engaging character. She had sentenced herself to death because of her guilt about the death of a friend. She is capable of doing great magic but she knows the cost of doing so. She is reluctant to get involved in the magic again because she worries that she might not be able to control it. She is an escapee from another of the six worlds where she was the victim of an powerful and power-hungry magic user.
I enjoyed the new and tentative romance between Kate and Brogan. The romance is complicated by the rules of the fae. She isn't trusting of strangers and he seems to delight in keeping secrets. Also, it is not ideal to start a romance in the midst of battles and danger.
The story will filled with adventure and excitement. I recommend it for lovers of urban fantasy (well, maybe, small town fantasy). I found the writing engaging and compelling.
"Might be time to ask that question again," he said quietly. "Can you do this?"
I took a deep breath, tasting grass, salt, and leaf. "I have to do this," I said as firmly as I could. Borgan shook his head.
"Have to isn't can," he said.
Which was true enough. But--