Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 425 pages
Genre: (Urban) fantasy
Release date: December 21, 2010
Series: Mystic Circle #1
Source: Personal shelf
Reviewed by: Jenn
As one of the last surviving Mistweavers, half-blood Jenni knows what it's like to be caught between two worlds: the faery and the human. But the time has come to choose. The Lightfolk require her unique talent for balancing the elements to fend off a dangerous enemy—and rescue her missing brother.
Only for Rothly will Jenni deal with those who destroyed her life. Only for him will she agree to work with her ex-lover, Aric, and revisit the darkest corners of her soul. For a reckoning is at hand, and she alone has the power to hold back the forces of dark….
I went on a bit of a e-shopping spree a little while ago and I bought the first two books in Robin D. Owens' Mystic Circle. I've heard great things about her other series and I was going to get one of those but ENCHANTED NO MORE really caught my eye. And not just because Jenni and I share a first name. ;) I love the fact that this book is sort of urban fantasy, sort of more high fantasy -- parts of the story take place in Denver but a lot of it happens in a fantasy world populated by Lightfolk (elves, dwarves, brownies, djinn, dryads, merfolk, etc., ruled by the Eight) and Darkfolk (rather less pleasant). It's a creatively rich world, filled with some fantastical characters, and I really enjoyed immersing myself in it. Owens has done a great job of building two separate but connected worlds: a strong urban fantasy world in Denver and a more classic fantasy setting for the rest of the novel.
Part of this worldbuilding involves the creation of neat backstories for her characters. Jenni, also known as Jindesfarne Mistweaver, has a great one. She's part elf, part djinn, and part human, making her a half-breed. Half-breeds have historically been regarded as second class citizens in the Lightfolk ranks and so Jenni doesn't have the warmest feelings toward full Lightfolk. Jenni is unusual among half-breeds because she has a rare ability to balance the four elements -- a gift that ran in her family. I say "ran" because nearly all of her family was killed in service to the Eight and her only surviving brother, Rothly, was physically and magically crippled. As a result of these events, she turned her back on the Lightfolk and settled in the human world, living on Mystic Circle, earning her keep as a game developer. She's lived in relative peace until the Eight send a representative to recruit her to balance the elements again. When she turns them down, they send another emissary: her ex-lover, Aric, who share her feelings of guilt over her family's deaths since they were together when the Mistweavers were ambushed.
Aric also has a complicated past, but it isn't as original as Jenni's. He is, however, a treeman, and part elf to boot, which means he can travel through trees and also has some elven abilities. He also has some daddy issues. He's changed a lot since he and Jenni were together, and I enjoyed watching them get reacquainted, working through old hard feelings and discovering nicer ones.
Needless to say, ENCHANTED NO MORE is full of emotional entanglement but there's also a very real sense of danger, since the Eight want Jenni to balance the elements when a magical bubble arrives. I know it sounds a bit weird but it makes sense within the world that Owens has created. These bubbles are rare and tend to occur in a series of three. The first one occurred two years before ENCHANTED NO MORE, in the Darkfolk territory, resulting in the birth of shadleeches, these really gross and murderous creatures that eat magic. The next two bubbles are supposed to occur in Lightfolk territory and the Eight want Jenni there to help them maximize the bubbles' magical potential, so that they can harass it for the benefit of the Lightfolk. The Darkfolk are trying to foil this plan, though, and target Jenni as the last Mistweaver. It's a really engaging plot. I was completely invested in Jenni's quest and there were some nice-for-the-reader surprises along the way.
ENCHANTED NO MORE features top-notch writing, logical and creative worldbuilding, sympathetic characters, and surprises. What more could you ask for in a novel? My expectations are quite high for ENCHANTED AGAIN because this book was so satisfying.