Saturday, May 28, 2022

Book Review: Harbinger by Wen Spencer


Wen Spencer
Series: Tinker (Book 5)
Publication: Baen (April 5, 2022)

Description: The Long-Awaited New Entry in Wen Spencer’s Popular Tinker Series

The war against the oni heats to a flashpoint even as Tinker learns that the enemy has a dangerous new weapon, the nactka. What’s more, the Stone Clan has sent its most famous warlords, the Harbingers, to take control of the allied war effort. Are these elves friends or foes? Tinker’s newfound baby siblings are up for grabs. The babies, though, are wood sprites and aren’t going to take things lying down. Team Mischief go!

My Thoughts: First of all, this story pulls together plotlines and characters from all of the previous books in this series. The war against the oni is heating up and all of the characters have different pieces of the puzzle and roles to play. Someone who has not read the earlier books (and probably, recently) will find this a very confusing story. 

When the story begins, Pittsburgh has been cut off from Earth because Tinker wrecked the gate that kept shifting it back and forth from Earth to Elfhome. She needed to do so to rescue Esme and the tengu leader. Tinker is trying to build an infrastructure, figure out what the oni want, find a way to defeat them, and figure out what to do with her new, and previously unknown, siblings. 

Louise and Jillian Mayer, Tinker's twin nine-year-old siblings, are on Elfhome in the secret haven that protects the tengu young and have come with a dragon named Joy and the fertilized ova of their three younger sisters and one brother who have been taught by Joy how to spirit walk and are known as Team Mischief. 

Runaway Olivia has become Forest Moss's domi and has a detachment of teenage elven Marines watching over her while Forest Moss in part of the elven force trying to destroy the oni encampments. She is looking for seeds to plant in her new greenhouse to provide a food source since Pittsburgh has been cut off from Earth. She is also tasked by Tinker to find some of the missing independents since she was once one of them. 

Jane Kryskill is still riding herd on Hal Rogers and trying to make a television show. She's newly riding herd on Nigel who has come to Earth to make a documentary. She has some help from Nigel's cameraman Taggart who is her fianc√©. She is also secretly trying to set up a Resistance movement to unite humans against the oni. 

There are other plot threads too. Law has one, Oilcan has one, Wolf Who Rules has one. So does Tristan who was introduced in Wood Sprites and who is definitely on the side of the bad guys. There are probably more that I've forgotten.

The story is fast-paced and entertaining. So much is going on. It reminds me, in its complexity, of David Weber's Honor Harrington series substituting magic for Weber's technology. Fans of complex worldbuilding, complex fantasy/urban fantasy will enjoy the adventure. However, it ends with an epic cliffhanger that made me want to throw my Kindle against the wall. 

Favorite Quote:
"I've seen this box!" Stormsong said. "I was - oh - oh - oh sweet light - I've seen one of your sisters."

"And you didn't think to tell me?" Tinker shouted. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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