Lisa Shearin: Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares #1) (review – audio)

So I’ve had this fantasy trilogy on my to-read list for a while now. It’s written by Lisa Shearin and looked like a great series with lots of action, fighting and fun. A nice easy fantasy read. I decided it was perfect to try for my first audio books in several years. I started listening and after listening a bit to the first one, I checked out the author’s homepage – only to find out, this isn’t a trilogy. I don’t know why I think that fantasy books always come in trilogies (or, I do – I blame it on the way Lord of the Rings was published). Anyway, I just assume this. I did it with Adrian Tchaikovsky’s brilliant Shadows of the Apt series. I bought three volumes, excited about this fantasy bug trilogy – only to discover that it’s supposed to be in 10 volumes…! And now this Raine Benares series – not a trilogy, no, so far there’s published 5 books with the sixth installment being published later this month…

Anyways. Enough of me ranting. As I’ve written earlier, I decided to listen to this book because I needed something fun and interesting to distract me while gardening. And it certainly did live up to my expectations. So much that I didn’t only listen to it while gardening – I also listened to it while cleaning the oven. And … I actually want to be in my garden pulling up weeds, something that has never happened to me before. But I want to listen to the book and so, I pull up weeds.

This is the story of Raine Benares, a Sorceress and Seeker. When Quentin, one of her friends, takes on a job to rob a necromancer’s house, Raine decides to watch over him to make sure he gets through it alive – without him knowing. Raine’s cousin Phaelan tacks along and suddenly the three of them find themselves fighting goblin shamans appearing out of nowhere. The trio makes it out alive but when Quentin goes to deliver the retrieved object, he finds himself in trouble again. With more goblins.

For Quentin’s protection, Raine has taken over the object he stole. It turns out to be a very old silver medallion – with a mind of it’s own. It doesn’t want Raine to take it of, it enhances her powers – and it makes everyone look for her. And not everyone nice. See, this medallion isn’t just an ordinary medallion – but what it is, exactly, is hard to find out for Raine. And when she does find out, it’s from highly unlikely sources. How to get rid of it again, is even harder to figure out. In her attempt to rid herself of it, her loved ones are endangered more than once as she is herself. But her possession of the medallion also introduces her to new – and rather pleasant – acquaintances.

There is a bit of a love triangle that doesn’t improve much on the overall storyline, in this novel at least – maybe it will in the sequels. It doesn’t get in the way of the story though so it’s not a real irritation (it just seems that love triangles are all over the place, see  Twilight and Hunger Games).

This is a great fantasy ride. It’s got lots of action, not a lot of slow parts. It keeps a fast pace and really moves the story along. It does this in a great way and it makes it a perfect light fantasy read. What I really appreciate about this book, is the amount of humor in it. There is, though, a bit of repetitiveness in the way it’s written – she clutches things in her white-knuckled hands several times in a few pages. It feels like the author wanted to write a certain something and wasn’t quite sure where to write it – and then missed deleting these repetitive sentences while editing. Overall, the writing flows easily and gets the story told in a good way.

So with this being an audio book, I of course have to comment on Eileen Stevens, the narrator. For the most part, I enjoyed her. I liked her reading voice and the sound of her voice is the sound of Raine Benares to me. However, I didn’t feel she did the male voices very well – they all sounded a bit alike. That being said, I didn’t need her to do more than she did for me to enjoy this listen and to be able to distinguish between who was talking.

Overall, I highly recommend this book as a light, easy and very entertaining fantasy novel that works perfect for the audio way of ‘reading’. I had a really good time listening to it and I’m looking forward to listening to the next in the series, Armed & Magical.

  • Title: Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares #1)
  • Author: Lisa Shearin
  • Publisher: Ace/Audible Frontiers
  • Year: 2007
  • Pages: 352 pages
  • Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
  • Source: Own Collection (Audible)
  • Stars:  4 stars out of 5

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So how do we feel about audio books?

I have to confess that I’m somewhat of a book snob. I don’t (necessarily) mean with regard to the books I read. No, I’m thinking about the way I read them. See, I don’t consider listening to a book to be proper reading. I did a very informal poll on this by asking my boyfriend and another friend if they think it counts just as much to hear a book and to read it – and neither of them thought so either.

So here we are – three clever persons (!), neither of us think it is quite right to listen to a book instead of sitting down and having it in our hands, using our eyes to read it with – the good old traditional way. But why is that? It’s the same words – it’s just two different ways of taking them in. And in some situations, you can’t read in the traditional way – but you can listen.

Besides, when did listening get such a bad reputation? When we’re kids, our parents read to us if we’re lucky. We never wonder if they get less out of the book because it is read out loud to them. Why shouldn’t we as adults not get to enjoy the same luxury?

I’m not sure I’m wired in a way to be able to listen to complex books – at least not yet – but I do think that I can listen to some novels and enjoy them.

So what it all comes down to, is that I’ve decided to give audio books a chance. Mostly because I have to get out in the garden and start pulling weeds and making it look somewhat presentable – or at least so the kids don’t hurt themselves playing in it. And I hate garden work. So to sweeten the deal I’ve decided to listen to an audio book while doing it. And I’ve chosen Magic Lost, Trouble Found (Raine Benares, book 1) by Lisa Shearin – pure fantasy, nothing intellectual, just plain action. And as a non-experienced audio book listener, I think that’s key. To have something to listen to that’s not too complicated but rather easily accessible. So that’s what I’m going for – pure lovely fluffy entertainment while I tackle those nasty stinging nettles.

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