Sue and I catch up with each other at Fantasycon every year, so I was thrilled that her debut book, Marked, had been scooped off the slush pile by Jo Fletcher. I read and enjoyed it – see my review here, so was more than happy to read the latest release in this series.
Able to see ghosts in both the human and daemon worlds, Lucky de Salle is a commodity – and a liability. And when her best friend Kayla mysteriously disappears, she and her daemon guard stumble onto a secret that makes her even more of a danger to her enemies. Now she’s being hunted by the daemon Henri le Dent and Amaliel Cheriour, the court’s sinister executioner, Lucky has to rely on her wits, her inner strength, her friends – and the emerging talents that make her far more than she thinks she is.
Lucky is now travelling in the Underlands, accompanied by the two daemons who have marked her, Jinx the Deathbringer and Jamie the Guardian. My strong advice is to track down the first book in this entertaining series, as this one picks up right from where Marked left off. Tingey writes with pace and conviction. All too often when loved ones are kidnapped, it seems the protagonist is more concerned about the details connected to the chase, but Lucky’s real fear for Kayla pervades this part of the adventure. This made me care about her again, and hooked me into the story.
In addition to a likeable protagonist, the world is peopled with a number of vivid characters, including a cute, shape-changing drakon – and Tingey manages to pull off a device that normally has me rolling my eyes. There is a love triangle going on – both Jinx and Jamie want Lucky. But don’t reject this one because you are sick of the angsting and hand-wringing that normally goes with such dynamics, because there simply isn’t any… The three of them are quite happy for things to play out as they are – matters are conducted with more latitude in the Underland, apparently.
Court life doesn’t get any less lethal, with the King teetering on the edge of outright madness and the book continues to gather pace as the story gallops to the exciting and unexpected climax, with a vile cult making an effective and very unpleasant antagonist. There are plenty of surprises along the way and, while this particular story arc has been suitably concluded, there are still some major question marks surrounding Lucky’s role and what her enemies will do next. All in all, an action-packed adventure that is great fun.