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Trick of the Light: A Trickster Novel (Trixa)

Trick of the Light: A Trickster Novel (Trixa) [Kindle Edition]

Rob Thurman
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

View our feature on Rob Thurman’s Trick of the Light.

When Trixa learns of a powerful artifact known as the Light of Life, she knows she’s hit the jackpot. Both sides—angel and demon—would give anything for it. But first she has to find it. And as Heaven and Hell ready for an apocalyptic throwdown, Trixa must decide where her true loyalty lies, and what she’s ready to fight for. Because in her world, if you line up on the wrong side, you pay with more than your life…

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 441 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451462882
  • Publisher: Roc (1 Sep 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002N83HIE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #282,804 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating read 12 Nov 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the spinoff novel by Rob Thurman, from the same world (more or less) as Cal and Niko. We meet Trixa as she learns of a powerful artefact known as the 'Light of Life' -- something both sides of the moral spectrum: angel and demon, would give anything to possess. But first things first, Trixa actually has to find it. So, as Heaven and Hell ready for an apocalyptic throwdown, Trixa must decide where her loyalty ultimately lies. On the surface this is a solid enough book: intrigue lurks around every corner, almost nothing is what it seems with characters colourful enough not to look out of place in a Wizard of Oz remake. All set against the backdrop of a cataclysmic battle of the war in Heaven. However, dig a little deeper and 'Trick of the Light' whilst enjoyable is riddled with problems.

I had very mixed feelings about this book. I read it months ago as an ebook on my ereader, so I've had a long time to digest the story and have started reading the Cal and Niko series since then; at the time this was the first book I'd read by Rob Thurman. Trixa is the first person narrator in 'Trick of the Light' -- as a character she comes across far too full of herself and doesn't acknowledge herself as having those pesky flaws the rest of us do. Trixa's difficult to relate to anyway because of her free and flighty nature and the ending made this relatability factor even more of an issue. The other characters in general were also difficult to relate to and not necessarily very interesting either. The only character I wanted to see more of was Eligos ('Eli'); a hilarious and charming demon, an unapologetically evil one at that -- no lame brooding for him! His reaction to the ending forever endeared him to me.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a bit of a delayed reaction 24 Feb 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book, but it took a long while for that to happen.

I am a fan of Thurman's storytelling style, for the most part. The narrator of her Leandros series, Cal Leandros, has such an engaging, darkly sarcastic and genuinely funny voice that it's pretty difficult for me to emerge from one of those books without a grin on my face, even if I have nitpicks over characterization or some such.

I did not enjoy narrator Trixa as much, and that really stood in the way of my engaging with the book. She has the same dark sarcasm as Thurman's previous narrator, but without the humor. The self-deprecating aspects of Cal, it turns out, are pretty integral to making some of his comments fly, comments that wouldn't go over so well if he was very impressed with himself. Trixa is VERY impressed with herself, which makes me, at least at first, less inclined to believe her when she tells me -- instead of showing me -- how awesome she is (especially in first-person). Same as with real-life people.

There is a reason for that, it turns out, and the conclusion of the book pretty much redeems everything. But that brings me to the second point which bothers me about this book (and all books that pull this trick). I'll attempt to explain without spoiling, and in the most general of terms.

It's one thing when you have a story where, in service of a "twist," facts are kept from the reader until the very end because the characters themselves don't know. The reader is carried along with them on their journey, discovers things along with them, and gets to vicariously experience the reveal, and all the excitement, or disappointment, or betrayal, or grand fantastic destiny that reveal entails.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trickxy 1 May 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Some authors can write characters of both genders. Some can only convincingly write characters of their own gender. And some can only write the opposite one.

Unfortunately Rob Thurman seems to be one of those women who can only write convincing male protagonists, because her first attempt at a female protagonist falls as flat as a dehydrated jellyfish. The first Trickster book "Trick of the Light" has a promising premise and some fascinating supporting characters, but it's riddled with confusing action scenes and a snotty Mary Sue of a heroine.

Trixa Iktomi (wow, a Lakota trickster as a surname... subtle) runs a bar during the day, and hunts demons every night -- one of them murdered her brother, and so she's obviously hunting for the guy whodunnit. What's more, she's searching for the Light of Life which she can trade to Hell for her brother's killer. So when she isn't running her business, she firebombs demon hideouts with her pals Griffin and Zeke.

However, agents of both Heaven and Hell want the Light of Life, and Eden House (a sort of organization run by angels... its influence is never very well defined) is out for it -- as is Solomon, a sexy bad-boy demon who wants in Trixa's pants (of course).

"Trick of the Light" = awesome demon-hunters + typical Snappy Sue heroine + half-baked plot + Judeo-Christian mythos without any belief or pesky God involvement. Honestly, it feels like Rob Thurman had a well-thought-out cast of male characters and a half-formed urban fantasy mythos... and then for some reason, she jammed a Mary-Sueish protagonist firmly in the middle of it all.

The biggest problem is, of course, Trixa -- she's an Action Mary Sue.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A twist that felt a bit too tricksy 6 Oct 2009
By Silence Dogoode - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rob Thurman has some serious urban fantasy chops with the Caliban Leandros series, so when I saw Trick of the Light on the new books shelf I was on it. But unlike the majority of readers I found this one to be a bit disappointing. Throughout most of the book I felt like something just had not quite gelled with the main character -- she seemed to be missing some component that would bring her to life for me. Or I would settle for a component that helped suspend disbelief, pull me into her story. I really did not find either quality, and I found the tricky ending to be frustrating. I felt like I had been played in a way, reading through the book, plowing along to hopefully get to a great finish maybe, since the story felt so thin to me. It's hard to write a complete review without putting in a spoiler, but I don't want to be more specific as obviously plenty of other people enjoyed the story. So, I'll put it this way, if you do not care for deux ex machina type endings, this book may not be for you. And for those who might lean the other way and say what good is urban fantasy/mystery without some twists and turns? I say twists and turns occur through the plots and surprises, but it seems a bit unfair to reveal major changes to not just one, but three main characters, all within the final pages of the book. I really wanted to like this book, too. I still think Rob Thurman is a strong author in this genre, and I definitely will read the next book in the Cal Leandros series.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "One deceit needs many others, and so the whole house is built in the air and must soon come to the ground" 21 Oct 2009
By Kris - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Felt like a good quote was needed for a subject header. Forgive me that one. :)

I agree with the majority of complaints and praise given by the other three star reviewers (in particular, Anthrophile's). Like everyone else, I decided to give TotL a try because of my absolute love for the Leandros series.

In a previous review I did (for Thurman's "Nightlife"), I mentioned that the Leandros books are golden if the voice of the narrator is one that you can enjoy. If not, well... Cal Leandros is a pretty strong character; you really get a sense of his personality and beliefs from even the most mundane of comments, so if you don't like his tone, the story might be a long haul for you.

The same holds true for our latest protagonist - Trixa. Her personality comes through in just about everything she says. Things are rarely spoken or described without a flavor of sarcasm, deceit, or a healthy boast of self-confidence. However, while I liked Cal's voice, I wasn't as fond of Trixa's. In the moments when she remarked about her faults (whether as a joke, or to give the readers a few flaws with which they could relate), it felt forced. When Cal makes those kind of remarks about himself, you know he means it. WIth Trixa, it felt hollow. Anyone read Meyers' stuff? Y'know how Bella always said she was pretty average, and yet all the world loved her? Sort of like that. It's hard to find merit in one's admitted "bad points" when the rest of the world isn't backing you up on them. In other words, to me, Trixa seemed too perfect.

BUT.. and this is a huge but, by the very end of the book (and I'm talking the last twenty pages or so), I understood her opinions and feelings a little more. If I were to read TotL a second time, I dont believe I'd feel as strongly about the above. Sorry - that sounds so vague, but I can't elaborate without spoiling things!

Last, Trixa can be repetitive. The evils of Heaven and Hell and the broken judgement of Zeke and the brightness of Eli's smile or smoothness of Solomon's voice.. some things were drilled into the pages. Yeah, yeah.. I know Cal does the same at times. But I like hearing what Cal has to say. Again, with Trixa, that wasn't always the case.

The ending was a bit of a deus ex machina. If this was a standalone book, it would have rubbed me the wrong way. Being part of a series, I didn't mind it as much (because I have hopes that the big shocking moment of the novel will be developed further along in the series)., as you can see, I will continue reading.

I do lack a fondness for Trixa, but I didn't outright dislike her, either. Neither the characters or the story completely won me over, but I've enjoyed Ms. Thurman's other novels so much that I have faith that this series can make a turn for the better.


All of that said, the one comment I hope people read, if any, from this review is the following:

If you are new to Ms. Thurman's books, I really, really, REALLY recommend that you try the Leandros series first. I most definitely wouldn't recommend Trick of the Light as a gateway to the Thurman urban-fantasy experience.

However, if you are already a fan of the Leandros series, then give Trick of the Light a try. It's not Ms. Thurman's best work, but it has a lot of her trademark wit, pretty people, plot twists, and unique takes on legendary creatures.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so read 14 Jan 2010
By Julie Doe - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Others have provided synopses, so I won't rehash the story line here. I really liked Rob Thurman's Cal/Niko Leandros series, so I wanted to like this book as well. However, several things just didn't work for me:

The book is told in the first person (not necessarily bad), but the narrator, Trixa, is unrelentingly, annoyingly sarcastic. There were times when I wished I could reach into the book, shake her, and say "be serious for just *one* moment, please." I appreciate sarcasm, but all the time? It made her seem shallow, and I wasn't able to connect with her at all.

Griffin and Zeke seem like a gay, non-fraternal re-imagining of Cal and Niko - the younger one, with a dark past and trouble adjusting, who is cared for by the older, handsome, competent one. This set-up didn't feel very...original.

The big surprise at the end, for the reader, is something that Trixa already knows - and has known all along. We've been in her head this whole time, and not once did she think about anything relating to the big surprise even though it was relevant to the story. As a reader, I feel deceived by Trixa, which only adds to my not liking her.

I don't know if there is going to be another book in this series, but I won't be reading it if Trixa remains as the narrator. I am looking forward to ROADKILL, the next in the Cal/Niko series.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected, but will buy book 2 5 May 2010
By Jem - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like so many others, I love Thurman's Cal Leandros series so I immediately ordered Trick of the Light. I wanted to see how she handles a female protagonist. Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed with Trixa. Honestly, I didn't like her. She seemed to be trying way too hard to be a bad a@@, and I had trouble getting invested in the revenge storyline. Cal was more sympathetic and outright interesting because he was an unwilling party to the hidden supernatural world, and he had a history and family that made him relatable. Secondary characters were given sufficient development. Readers don't know much about Trixa other than she loves red, she owns a bar and her brother was murdered by a demon. Trixa's main partner, Leo, says very little and is a complete mystery until the end, and Zeke and Griffin are one dimensional. Despite the implied quest of searching for the "Light of Life," there wasn't much going on in the book except for Trixa's numerous pissing contests with demons that should've been able to crush her like a bug. And the villains were cardboard cutouts.

The conclusion did have a couple big twists/surprises that I didn't anticipate - mainly because, as another reviewer pointed out, it was deux ex machina. None of these are uncommon issues in urban fantasy, and that may be why this was disappointing. Nightlife (Cal Leandros, Book 1) was very original, Trick of the Light felt like something I have read before.

However, there were some very good things going for the book. I loved how Thurman wove the story into the universe she already created with Cal Leandros. Trixa fights demons in Vegas, and the explanation for why we haven't seen them in NY is clever. Robin Goodfellow makes a cameo (with the potential for more in the future), we find out what Ishiah is (albeit indirectly) and the battle between "above and below" is unique in how it is executed within an urban fantasy setting. And though the ending was a bit of a cheat, I enjoyed the surprise anyway. I finally felt some enthusiasm for the characters. And with this improved understanding of who Trixa is, I think the next book has a better starting place to pull readers into her world.

Overall, this wasn't nearly as good as her other series, but I will read the next book before giving up on it. The author took a gamble by not giving Trixa more substance in order to make her more mysterious. I don't think it worked, but it also shouldn't be an issue for the next book. Thurman is an excellent writer.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A repetitive and one-dimensional read 26 Oct 2009
By Brittni Brodeur - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am a huge fan of the Cal/Neko series, so I was thrilled when Rob Thurman released another book. However, the only part of this new storyline that I even remotely appreciated was the brief appearance of Robin Goodfellow (from the Cal Leanros series, if you have yet to read them). The way she twisted the two worlds together was interesting... but the rest of the storyline left something to be desired. I felt very little connection to any of the characters, despite the fact that she shoved Zeke's quirky-but-lovable antisocial behavioral issues down my throat for the majority of the meager character development that was present.

The series of events was a boring repetition of one "badass" character showing up uninvited only to be interrupted by another, then they banter, then they part. If it wasn't Eli and Solomon, it was one of the demons and one of the angels. Or Trinity and a demon. Or Trinity a demon and an angel. Etc. Although interesting at first, it became very boring, very fast. It feels like she was ploughing through a vague and uninteresting storyline just to reveal the "big twist" at the end. The story felt like a Scoobie-doo mystery up until the "big surprise ending". However, (without giving anything away) two thirds of the "twist" are useless. She doesn't tie it into the storyline or climax at all- she just uses it for the sake of irony. On top of it all I found that her usual gritty narrative wit became a bit corny, some innuendos were downright confusing. Not to mention that some of the writing was poorly put together and I was confused at a particular instance or two.

I am disappointed, but will still pick up the next book in the Cal Leandros series (Roadkill- coming March 2010).
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