Con & Conjure (Raine Benares #5) by Lisa Shearin
My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker who finds lost things and missing people. My relatives, on the other hand, steal things. They’re the most notorious criminal family in the seven kingdoms. Sometimes I wonder if they have the right idea, especially since what I’ve found lately is likely to get me killed. And the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone that has given me unlimited power, is to blame for every last bit of it.
Ever since the Saghred bonded to me, the goblin king and the elven power brokers have wanted to possess its magic themselves. But to get it, they’ll have to get me, and their pockets are deep enough to make that happen. With the help of my highly qualified family, I’ve rigged the perfect con—one that will financially ruin the elves who are spoiling for war. My family’s run elaborate scams before, but none involving this much money, government officials this highly ranked, or a war this close to starting. In our way is a goblin thief who’s after the Saghred, and my ex-fiancé—an elven assassin who may be after me. I broke up with him. Let’s just say it could have gone better.
If either the goblins or the elves get their hands on the Saghred, they have every intention of using it. Which means total annihilation will be inevitable…
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I love Lisa Shearin‘s Raine Benares books. They’re so well crafted and there’s always a fun, twisty plot and Con and Conjure is no exception. The story is fast-paced and takes you on quite the journey. It also has a darker tone than previous novels, which was just fine with me! Lisa Shearin has done a marvelous job, as always, and the novel ends in such a great place that the tone shift can only lead to greater things.
As in all the other books in the series, Raine struggles with the Saghred and the people who want to capture her for their own nefarious purposes. Between power-hungry goblins and corrupt elves, she’s got her hands more than full. Thankfully, Raine has some great support, including her always hilarious family, particularly the newly-introduced Mago, who is rapidly becoming one of my favourite characters. He’s so wonderfully cunning, and the lynchpin in Raine’s aforementioned conned. Of course, things don’t go all that smoothly, which, as a reader, I love.
Raine’s relationship with Mychael continues to be delightful. I’ve liked watching it develop over the course of the previous four novels and it was really fun to see how the introduction of Raine’s ex-fiancé goes over. Sadly, with the focus on Raine’s con and the elves, there’s not as much Tam as I would like. (This is probably not news to anyone who remembers my post on Bewitched & Betrayed.) However, since the book was so good, I can forgive it. 🙂
Of course, the best part of the book is Raine herself. I love the quippy one-liners and the way she faces her problems. I also adore the fact that she embraces her family’s criminal ways and doesn’t angst about it. Nothing against characters with angst but it’s great that she just goes with it, trying to establish her black sheep status by not engaging in too much illegal activity. Lisa Shearin has given Raine so much dimension and personality that reading these stories is like visiting an old friend.
The cover of Con & Conjure is absolutely perfect. I think the model has really captured Raine’s personality and she looks suitably bad-ass with that giant sword. I can’t figure out if it’s the same model as the previous two covers, though, so I’m going to continue pondering that one for a while. It’ll give me something to keep my mind busy while waiting for Raine’s sixth adventure, which seems like it will be the best yet.