by J.A. Pitts
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765329073
Date: 05 July 2011 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Although she knows first hand the truth of the matter, blacksmith Sarah Beauhall tries to cope with knowing that fantasy dragons are real and not part of a medieval reenactment. This would be enough to set someone off their feed even a person as strong as Sarah is, but to also find out that she is to save the world too is a bit over the top though she accomplishes her quest (see Black Blade Blues) as the powers that be demand she cleanse the realm of magic gone wild.
Sarah is determined to do what is right since she stepped through the rabbit hole when she reforged a sword that turned out to be magical. Still after her harrowing real adventures the blacksmith hopes there will be no more world-saving intervention. She spots siblings Skella and Gletts conducting surveillance of her but is unaware why, though she assumes it has something to do with her recent life change. Unbeknownst to her the pair works for avarice dwarves whose greedy inanity places the world in peril. Meanwhile she and her BFF Katie attend a concert. The dwarves are trying to kidnap the singer whose blood they need to enhance their magic. Her preference is non-involvement, but as the ante is raised that is not an option. Sarah begins her latest rescue mission while quickly learning that world saving makes strange bedfellows.
The exciting second Beauhall urban fantasy lacks the uniqueness of Black Blade Blues, but remains a fresh fun thriller as the heroine continues to struggle with coping with what she has learned about the world. Her doubts and preference to stay out of another otherworldly fiasco rings true as she just wants to return to her life before reforging the magical blade; that as readers and Sarah know is not an option. The support cast including the dwarves, who seem out of the Sean Connery movie Time Bandits, appears two dimensional as they are props of sorts for the protagonist to do her thing.
The story line is somewhat linear and though for the most part fits much of the sub-genre tropes, there are also fascinating twists enhancing what Sarah must do. Fans who read Beauhall's rude awakening to the rest of the world will enjoy her second major adventure while knowing we can look forward to her masters assigning future perilous quests in which sitting idly on the sidelines or just saying no, is not an option.