Wen Spencer: Tinker
This author has been on my radar for a while, but I don’t recall hearing about TINKER until it showed up in an Audible book sale. I think it was part of a recent “two books for one credit” sale that I took advantage of. And now? Now I’m hooked. And after I finish the Elfhome series, I’ll be looking into Spencer’s other novels.
To start with, this novel takes place in Pittsburgh, in the future. If a date is given, it isn’t important. The future is at some point after humans have designed hoverbikes, good AI, and transportational gates. (Well, one human has designed a gate. But that’s a plot point, and I don’t want to get too spoilery.) The only problem with this gate is that it has a side effect: when it’s turned on, it sends Pittsburg to Elfhome. (Elfhome, as you may have guessed, it the land where the elves live.)
The novel’s plot is both simple and relatively complicated. Part of the complicating part is avoiding spoilers. Even discussing the main enemy in the book comes close to spoilery. However, I can say that at the beginning of the story, the main bad guy tries to kill Wind-Wolf, our Hero. (I’m not sure how it’s written, since I listened to the audio version, but I always heard Wind-Wolf as a hyphenated name. It’s an elvish translation, and made sense to me that way.) And Tinker, our Heroine, saves Wind-Wolf instead, saving him first from some of the physical damage he faces, and then keeps him alive until she can get him to proper elvish healing.
I love the fact that this is both a high fantasy and an urban fantasy story. It somehow manages to be both by virtue of being set BOTH in a futuristic Earth, and a fantasy elven world. The blend of the two styles intrigued me, and made me very envious of the author’s worldbuilding.
The narration was good as well. Some of the male characters seemed very similar, and the narrator sometimes said “yes” and “no” more like a question than I thought it should have been. However, I did enjoy hearing the book read, and some of the elvish words would have been tongue-twisters if read by a less competent narrator. I will not necessarily go searching out other books read by this reader, but I will not shy away from them, either. I haven’t determined if the similarity of the male voices – mostly elven male voices – was intentional (since the book is from Tinker’s POV and Tinker is a human) or not, so this may not be an issue with her other readings. Besides, this was really only for the smaller characters. The main characters were all more recognizable than the minor ones. And her female characters were all ready with a lot more distinction to their voices, without becoming caricatures, which I appreciate.
All told, this is a good book. Worth picking up either the audio version or the text version. I have the paperback of book 2 on its way to me now, and will be starting it when I am done with my current book.