The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer

Series: Shattered Sigil #1 Rating: 3.75/5
Date of Publishing: August 1st 2011 Genre: fantasy, high fantasy, magic
Publisher: Night Sade Books Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Number of pages: 354 Author’s website: http://www.courtneyschafer.com/

Quote of the Book

“The forest’s ikilhia painted the world in a soft glow, beautiful and seductive. And in his mind, a sudden vicious tug, and a distant echo of furious triumph. Oh yes, Ruslan was awake.”

Blurb

Dev is a smuggler with the perfect cover. He's in high demand as a guide for the caravans that carry legitimate goods from the city of Ninavel into the country of Alathia. The route through the Whitefire Mountains is treacherous, and Dev is one of the few climbers who knows how to cross them safely. With his skill and connections, it's easy enough to slip contraband charms from Ninavel - where any magic is fair game, no matter how dark - into Alathia, where most magic is outlawed.

But smuggling a few charms is one thing; smuggling a person through the warded Alathian border is near suicidal. Having made a promise to a dying friend, Dev is forced to take on a singularly dangerous cargo: Kiran. A young apprentice on the run from one of the most powerful mages in Ninavel, Kiran is desperate enough to pay a fortune to sneak into a country where discovery means certain execution - and he'll do whatever it takes to prevent Dev from finding out the terrible truth behind his getaway.

Yet Kiran isn't the only one harboring a deadly secret. Caught up in a web of subterfuge and dark magic, Dev and Kiran must find a way to trust each other - or face not only their own destruction, but that of the entire city of Ninavel. 

Personal notes

This was a prize for completing r/fantasy bingo a few years ago.

Song of the Book

Review

It’s taken me years to get around to reading this book, something I kind of regret now because it was quite enjoyable, I blew through it in just a few sittings. The first half of the story moves at decent clip and is damned hard to put down.

Kirin, escaping from Ruslan his mentor and a powerful Blood Mage, with the hired help of Dev, a smuggler, attempts crossing the mountain pass into the protective walls of Alathia where he hopes to hide behind their magic blocking barrier. With Ruslan hot on his heels, Kirin’s jump from the frying pan, lands him in the proverbial fire, when he falls onto the radar of another powerful and possibly crueler blood mage, who wants to use Kirin’s strong magic to get a foothold of power in the country.

The flight through the dangerous mountain path combined with the threat of Ruslan finding them made for some nice tense reading and there was just enough of the mountaineering and cold weather/snow details, to really bring home the risks that were involved (outside of the risk of being captured by an angry mage).

The middle is maybe not as tense but still has enough going on to keep you turning the pages and gives us a little bit of time to get to know Dev and Kirin’s characters separate from one another – which I think is a good thing when reading buddy stories, that they have personalities outside of how they play off one another.

The end was a bit rougher and not near as strong as the beginning. There were some minor points that could have been stronger for me – with Simon, Ruslan’s return, and one little thing with Cara and Kirin, but all very subjective to my tastes, and super hard to go in-depth about without spoilers.

There are a couple types of magic. I’m not quite sure I understand them fully, yet. The Tainted like Dev had, is in kids and they lose it when they hit puberty, though I’m not sure if this is restricted to Dev’s people only.
And then there are the mages like Kirin, who are trained to use the magic and I assume have the magic always.  It works for me as is, and I never worry about explanations of magic in a series when things will most likely get more explanation as it goes anyway.

This story finishes up tidily, while leaving lots of space to continue. I really liked how it set itself up for book two. There were a couple of additional characters added that I am excited to come back for – one of them being Captain Martennan and I’m hoping for more Cara. Overall this was a quick enjoyable read and I’m excited to continue this series.

This review was written by Jennifer (BunnyReads)

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