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on 28 September 2007
'My name is Raine Benares. I'm a seeker. The people who hire me are usually happy when I find things. But some things are better left unfound...
Raine is a sorceress of moderate powers, from an extended family of smugglers and thieves. With a mix of street smarts and magic spells, she can usually take care of herself. But when her friend Quentin, a not-quite-reformed thief, steals an amulet from the home of a powerful necromancer, Raine finds herself wrapped up in more trouble than she cares for. She likes attention as much as the next girl, but having an army of militant goblins hunting her down is not her idea of a good time. The amulet they're after holds limitless power, derived from an ancient, soul-stealing stone. And when Raine takes possession of the item, it takes possession of her'

Love it! 'Magic Lost, Trouble Found' is book one of this engaging and gripping series...and what a fantastic beginning! This novel is everything a fantasy novel should be. It's a fast-paced, action-packed, catch your breath page turner. I bonded quickly with the tough, witty, compelling heroine Raine and found the other vivid characters equally enchanting. There is heaps of chemistry and tension (of all sorts) in this debut novel. It was an utter delight to read! I eagerly await the sequel, 'Armed and Magical' in April 2008.
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on 4 July 2008
While the cover of the book put me off somewhat, I recently took the plunge and purchased this anyway. As fantasy novels go, its light-hearted tone and brevity make a refreshing change. If you want something that's a relatively quick read, with a good sense of humour, then you could do much worse than this book. It gets off to a good start, although it introduced a lot of characters and concepts a bit too quickly for my liking. The pace is quick and although the plot becomes slightly predictable that hardly detracts from the all-round sense of fun.

The characters are generally likeable, although it took me some time to warm up to our heroine. The ending is also very abrupt - while you expect it to lead directly on to the sequel, I would have liked a bit more resolution and came away feeling a bit dissatisfied. Nevertheless, it's a good start to the series and is good value for money - I look forward to reading the sequel.
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VINE VOICEon 9 December 2007
I picked this up fairly randomly when it popped up in my recommendations - despite not much liking the cover.

I'm so glad that I did. It was a really great read - lovely characters, living in a well rendered world, with an interesting plot.

So what's the story? Raine Benares is an elf and a sorceress of limited powers who makes her living as a seeker - a finder of missing objects and people.

Looking out for one of her friends, who is not having much luck in turning his back on a life of crime, she ends up wearing a stolen amulet which it rapidly becomes clear is very powerful and transforms her magical talents in a rather alarming way. It is also a magnet for a number of interested parties, most of whom do not have Raine's best interests at heart.

The story follows Raine finding out more about the amulet and her past as she dodges her new found enemies.

Mermeia, the city that Raine lives in, is built on canals and with one of the set piece scenes taking place at a masked ball, there are definite echoes of Venice. The city is well realised and its position in a chain of islands and city states is sketched out sufficiently without needing to get bogged down in lots of background.

The city is home to a number of races and creatures, the main ones being humans, goblins and elves - with a lot of magic users of varying levels of capability. The goblins and elves are a bit different to the norm. The goblins are beautiful, seductive, dark-haired creatures of the night - think non-blood sucking vampires. We don't hear as much about the elves, Raine's own family are a bit atypical as they are pirates and thieves, but they don't seem to be immortal and are pretty down to earth.

The book is written in the first person from Raine's perspective. She's a likeable lead character with an amusingly wry tone. She is capable of taking care of herself, but that doesn't mean she doesn't get scared. She's actually a really enjoyable balance of capability without coming over as superwoman and of being unhappy with some of the situations she finds herself in without turning into to a whiny ball of angst. Not a trick that every author in this genre can manage.

There are a number of supporting characters, all of whom are nicely drawn and some are adorable.

There is Raine's surrogate family, particularly Garadin, a powerful retired mage and her godfather; and Piaras, a young, very powerful spellsinger who Raine regards as a little brother and who ends up doing a lot of growing up in the book. Their relationship and her protective instincts are an interesting feature.

There are two men in Raine's life. One is Tam, a goblin and former member of the goblin royal family. He and Raine have an ongoing association. His part in the book is fairly small, but Tam does make an impression - maybe something to do with being thrown against the mainmast for a passionate kiss.

Then there's Mychael Eliesor, another elf and Paladin of the Concalve Guardian's - a sort of police force come army based on a neighbouring island which is home to the magical schools of learning. Mychael is interested in Raine's amulet, but it becomes obvious he's also very interested in her. There are lots of lovely little moments between them and Mychael is clearly gorgeous and honourable (which doesn't hurt).

There is plenty of plotting and some very unpleasant bad guys.

The book comes to a neat finish and sets up the next stage of the action. So I'm really looking forward to book two!!
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a new fantasy series of books begins with magic lost, trouble found, introducing main character raine benares. living in a typical fantasy city she is an elf lady and a seeker. a lady who finds magic objects for people. even though they may need to remember the old saying about being careful what you want. streetwise and cunning, she's caught up in a recovery of an object gone wrong. and as a result gets stuck with a deadly artefact and all sorts of people on her tale who are to get it.

The book runs for roughly 342 pages and is pretty much self contained although there's room for further adventures for the main character come the end.

Alas I can't quite give this five stars because whilst the main character is appealing and there's some nice ideas and decent world building here I didn't find it as smooth a read as I was expecting. The prose didn't quite grab and there are a lot of strange character names to take in.

But view this as a promising first novel and it's just about enough to make me try more by the writer. So I have her second book on order.
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on 6 February 2008
Lisa Shearin writes the first book to a fabulous sword and sorcery adventure.

This story begin with Raine and her cousin Phaelan standing in a alley way across from a very nasty necromancers home watching Raine's friend Quentin attempt a break and enter. This is the start to a wicked old style adventure story with a touch of romance to cap it off. Once Quentin retrieves the amulet he is commissioned to steal, the amulet bonds to Raine who at this point is a sorceress with only moderate powers. The amulet is the conduit to an alien rock call the Soul Stealer. This stone has great power and with Raine bonded to the conduit that power is available to Raine if she so choices. In a world where sorcery is the norm, great power is the ideal and the Soul Stealer has limitless power a lot of bad people would do anything to have that power for themselves regardless if Raine is dead or alive.

I brought this book by chance and I am very glad. Excellent Book, great world building looking forward to the next in the series.
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on 22 May 2009
This book is really, really good. In fact I have promoted Ms Shearin to my favorite author. The dialogue is actually witty (rather than just trying to be witty, which is always painful to read) and the characters are well - drawn.
The book is set in Mermea, a city with strong overtones of Venice. That is if Venice were populated with elves, goblins and magic users. Neither the elves or the goblins are your usual fantasy fare, either. The elven lifespan appears to be the same as for humans, and the goblins are sexy. So far, so good. The plot is quite complicated, but easy to follow - you don't get confused trying to keep track of everyone/thing. This is partly due to the first person viewpoint, which is in my opinion very well written. The story follows Raine Beniares, of a family of elven pirates.(gotta love elven pirates) She is also a seeker ( a sort of magical gumshoe)The problem is that she has found a very ugly neclace - and she can't get rid of it. Nasty when your accessories start affecting your life. She now has to evade the many people that want the thing, while trying to find out WHY they want it. Murder, magic and intrigue ensue.
All - in - all, a very fun book, and highly reccomended.
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on 8 January 2008
I decide to read this book because the title intrigued me. I'm so glad I did. What a brilliant start to a new series. I can't wait for book two. It has everything a good fantasy book should have, loads of action, scary bad man, monsters and a dashing heroine. I also enjoyed the fact that goblins(though not typically good,) were not the nasty, ugly creatures they usually get depicted as.If you enjoy a book that is never dull, has no boring bits you'd rather skim over and characters you want to know more about, this is definitely the book for you...honest.
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on 1 October 2008
I purchased this book more in the hope that I would like it more than the expectation.
Without equivocation I will state that I really enjoyed it. Shearin has created a distinct world that is uniquely hers, and that is always a good start.
I tend not to be a fan of first-person works, especially when attampts are made at humour. All too often the author creates a character who seems to think he or she is witty and funny, but is in fact rather tedious.
Raine Benares is the exception; she IS at times both witty and funny and I look forward to reading more about her.
This book is not long and I suspect the majority of readers will get through it in a couple of days; however this and the second book "Armed & Magical" are but the beginning of what I presume wil be a series much like Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden books.
Buy it and enjoy; You won't be disappointed.
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on 11 April 2008
Yes, the cover is rubbish and the title is stupid but actually 'Magic Lost, Trouble Found' is a pretty good read, 4 stars is maybe a little overzealous but my generosity is for the wit and style Shearin has used to sell her first novel. The pacing is fast, there is much well placed action, some nice inserts of sarcastic humour even a little darkness. This is more fantasy than anything but being set in the murky city of Mermeia it has an urban feel to it.

The book follows a short span of Reine Benares life as she tries to work her way out of a rather tricky situation...She's a seeker, she finds things and has moderate magical ability, this doesn't bother our heroine and the fact that thanks to a friend of hers she gets lumped with a powerful stone that exponentially enhances her magical skills doesn't sit well with her. This book thrives on the difficult and sometimes funny situations are heroine gets into, she lands into one mess after the other but it's her attitude that really makes this book shine; she's a lead that exudes a great deal of control not only in herself but in how she manages to effect the situations she's manpowered into without being in your face and gun-ho, she's clever, thoughtful and her first person narrative works well.

The narrative is descriptive and never fails to give a good sense of the various settings which thus become claustrophobic and atmospheric although the fantasy world itself does seem a bit narrow and although I can't put my finger on why, rather dull.

The secondary characters all have their archetypal places in the book and therefore fit in perfectly. We have the father figure/mentor, a youthful sibling type, an innocent who grows up over the course of the book and - now this formula grates on me - two opposing love interests, one who, you guessed it is dark, the other light. But the characters and plot develop very nicely and the next book is set up whilst giving this a good ending.

This isn't the best out there in the urban fantasy vein; the world isn't inventive enough nor the lead given enough depth to make her truly compelling but all in all it's exciting, fun and quirky, with a decent lead and a witty style that engages, making the experience of reading about Reine and her troubles definitely enjoyable if not when looked at objectively a brilliantly written and inventive novel. My review proberly seems a little muddled but it comes down to this, I'm not blind to the fact that the book isn't original, challenging etc but I choose to read it and liked it because I pick this kind of book to relax and be entertained and `Magic Lost, Trouble Found' exceeded magnificently in this regard.
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on 11 March 2008
This is a single, well-written story. It is written as though narrated by the main character, who has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour throughout. The characters are good and, more importantly, the world in which they live is rich and interesting. The characters possess various magical abilities that puts them into broad categories (seeker, guardian, spellsinger, etc.) - all of which I found to be quite original and well thought-out.

There are several places where it is difficult to know which character is supposed to be speaking, and in a few places the plot elements make very little sense... but overall the book is well worth reading if you like to see a strong female as a central character.
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