Book Review – Trickster Noir by Cedar Sanderson

I finished the first book in the series, went right out and bought the second. I started reading after supper and the next thing I knew it was morning and I was done.

Trickster Noir is the second book in the Pixie for Hire series. The first is Pixie Noir. The third book, Dragon Noir, is finished but not out yet, per the author’s Facebook posts. It should be out in a couple of months or so. I can hardly wait. The protagonist, Lom, is a pixie bounty hunter who is required to serve the High Court in a position of disgrace because of some long ago offense of one of his ancestors. He has lost his title, the right to his family’s lands, manor and holdings. Because of an incident explained in the first book, he even has lost almost all of his magic because of elf-shot poisoning. This lack is what makes Lom so ideal in the sight of the doddering, Machiavellian High Court Council. Less magic means less attention from the mortal world, hence less chance Underhill will be discovered. Of course, since they are sending him after magical creatures causing havoc in the mortal realm, this puts him at a disadvantage. Lom is understandable a crusty cynic in the first book when he is sent to escort a long-lost Fairy Princess back to the High Court. Bella and he are attacked on the way back and this leads to the uncovering and eventual solving of a plot to destroy the High Court by the Low.

The second book begins after Lom has been rescued from imprisonment and torture. Bella and her unusual talents drew the elf-shot poison out of him to drive off the Wild Hunt. This saved his life but destroyed any magic he had left. Even the smallest magic done in his presence sends him into convulsions and blackouts.  Rather than destroy the chance of his beloved fiancee, the Queen-Consort elect to win the hearts of the court because he is now viewed as a hopeless cripple, Lom leaves Bella in their home and travels to visit her ‘uncle’, who is the Trickster Spirit Raven in the flesh.

The narrative switches back and forth between Lom’s viewpoint and Bella’s. They each have adventures. Lom’s is told from the first-person perspective and Bella’s is told from the limited third, which is interesting to read. Lom gets his health and his magic back. Bella’s grandfather, who was the one married to the original fairy princess that gave Bella her fairy blood, is revealed to be a dragon. This hybridization is what gives Bella her unusual strength and powers. Raven gives the couple a mission from him to go to another ancient spirit in Japan, to be undertaken after their two weddings: one for her mortal family in the mundane realm, the other for the High Court in Underhill.

After the wedding in Underhill, the King also asks them to undertake a mission for him to, surprise, surprise, the Eastern Court of Fairy, where hostages taken in the war with the Low Court had been returned and reports of unrest were slipping out. Lom correctly surmises that the two missions are actually one and the same. He doesn’t understand Bella’s mirth when they arrive in Japan and are told by the ancient spirit there they must destroy the wicked witch from the west. How they succeed involves a phoenix and a dragon, other than Bella or her grandfather, both powerful symbols in Japanese mythology.

I very much enjoy Cedar’s writing style. No foul language other than an occasional cuss word, minimal gore, sexual content is limited to kissing and mild innuendo, in this series anyway. Her credentials are impressive as a mother, businesswoman, full-time student with multiple degrees. She has her own blog at Cedar Writes and is a frequent contributor to Otherwhere Gazette.

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