Review of CURSE THE DARK by Laura Anne Gilman (see her website)
Luna, July 2005
Lonejack 'Wren' Valere uses her thieving skills plus her magic talent as a specialist in retrieval. Although the Council is cracking down on lonejacks in general and on Wren in particular, there's always a demand for someone who can track down and retrieve the truly valuable, or highly dangerous. What isn't completely clear is which category this latest job falls into.
Together with her partner, Sergei (Sergei is a business partner but there is also a strong chemistry that just might explode at any moment) Wren heads to Italy where a mysterious document has vanished. The document is especially mysterious because no one has ever read it. No one, that is, who's survived to tell of the experince. In Italy, Wren and Sergei learn that their employers for the job, The Silence, doesn't have a clue what they sent them into.
Back in New York, Wren and Sergei explore their relationship and confront both human and non-human magic. Someone, or something, is stirring things up.
Author Laura Anne Gilman creates an interesting take on the urban fantasy. Magic is related to electricity and Wren's love/hate with all things electric is one of the most clever and amusing parts of the story. The Sergei/Wren relationship works, with plentyof chemistry and lots of deep-seated issues. I thougt Gilman fell a bit short on the actual adventure. Wren reacted through the entire story rather than really grabbing control. Surely, once she knew the manuscript was in the library, she should have acted rather than waited for it to grow stronger. Gilman ends the novel with a preview that plenty more danger and possibly romance is in store for our daring duo.
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