When Demons Walk – Patricia Briggs

7 Dec
Wow, I forgot how good this book is. I read it years ago and I remembered that I liked it, but didn’t recall much about it. Last week, in a fit of book dissatisfaction, I picked it up off my shelf on a whim. Not only do I remember now that it’s a wicked good book, but I’m also determined to read more of Patricia Briggs. I know people all over the netz love her Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, and I’ve heard really good things about her Alpha and Omega series as well.

[Please overlook the cheesiness of this cover – this is the edition I had and I promise you, she never climbed that cliff in a gauzy bikini. Sultry bikini-ware was confined to the castle.]

When Demons Walk is a classic fantasy book, with a deep backstory, awesome heroine, and riveting adventure. Shamera is a thief and hoodlum, living in the downtrodden Purgatory neighborhood. Though she is both small and female, she has one thing going for her that protects her from the thuggery: she’s a wizard. Even the most dangerous in Purgatory think twice about taking Shamera on. Though she once lived in the king’s castle, she now ekes out her living by stealing from the rich nobles whose army overthrew her king. By chance one night she encounters the Reeve of Southwood and strikes up an unlikely conversation. Later, when he rescues her from a beating, she escapes and figures she’ll never see him again. A tragic turn of events causes Shamera’s and Kerim’s, the Reeve, paths to cross again, and she enters into a bargain to pose as his mistress as she searches for a serial killer in the castle.

Magic – check. Intrigue – yup. Complicated relationships – yes sir. When Demons Walk has all the elements of a rollickin’ good time. There’s an impressive amount of world-building here; no detail is a throwaway. Briggs managed to weave military maneuvers, the clash of religions, a blind selkie, a magical flute, and a secret cave into a tightly constructed, easily believable tale. And for those of you who like steampunk, a simulacrum even makes an appearance here. When Demons Walk easily knocked me out of my book rut and now I have a renewed jones for fantasy.

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