I like need to NOT pick out my own books to read or something. But you know, that was an early book and I liked "Steal the Dragon" so SURELY I would ADORE "When Demons Walk"! So that's how the book ended upon Summer of Love. The weak romance between Kerim and Sham (when you hear that one "loves" the other, you wonder how because they never really have been shown to act that way towards each other). (The number of times Kerim could barely contain laughter at one of her tricks made me want to spit vomit all over the place.) When it comes down to it, the book's biggest flaw is its size. We don't see the crucial scene where Sham learns a key element about another character. As the scene went on, I pondered over the characters' actions and the magics, I finally started to "get" what was going on. I would be remiss to say I am not wary of Patricia Briggs, that I am kinda nervous about reading any of her other books, for fear they will be disappointments like "When Demons Walk" and "Hob's Bargain". There's also this "plot point" that Briggs has Sham notice MULTIPLE TIMES: how Sham's trunk ends up open or unlocked.
I really enjoyed this and it worked as a standalone, but I can't help but wonder if there wasn't more that was cut by the editor, or if Briggs intended to write a sequel at the time. If you've read my reviews of the rest of the series, you know I have similar feelings on the entire Sianim world. The heroine, Sham (Shamera), was the daughter of the head of the king's guard and an apprentice magician before the magic hating Cybellians, followers of Altus, besieged the castle and killed her entire family along with many others. He believes magic is mere superstition and Sham just a clever thief, but he's an open-minded likeable alpha (the type Briggs excels at writing). The question of Altus (spelling?) the god, so prominent in several of the Sianim books, is not resolved. Briggs, like the rest of humanity, would be unable to solve the questions and contradictions much of the world faces.
Toward the end the explanation of the magic was complicated and, after reading one segment about three times I decided to trust it would all work out and moved on. The heroine, Shamera aka "Sham", is a thief who's also a wizard in hiding. The Reeve reminded me of Adam from the Mercy Thompson series. Fans of Briggs's "Mercy Thompson" and "Alpha and Omega" series will probably enjoy reading this work from her backlist, but those just starting out might want to jump ahead to those current hits.
Briggs is a master at weaving an alternative reality and making you feel like you are there. When the Reeve rescues Sham from an overzealous guard, she feels bound to accept his request to help him discover who is killing aristicrats in his kingdom.
So it becomes Sham's job to find the killer, and this leads her to a wide variety of smaller tasks, resulting in a pretty good ending. The leading character, obviously, is a female who is both a mage and a rogue, but for her investigation she has to play the part of a laey of the court for a while.
This gives the impression of being a slight book (slighter than it actually is) from Patricia Briggs early work (1998). When her mentor is killed, she accepts a job to tackle the demon responsible on behalf of Lord Kerim, the Cybellian Reeve of Southwood, now ensconced in the castle where her parents were slaughtered during Southwoods last defensive action.
Shamera is a wizard, she has been a thief for the last 12 years protecting and caring for her Master the Wizard Maur, who was blinded and tortured 12 yrs ago when the kingdom was overrun. Later after more killings, some among the courtiers, Sham is persuaded by a friend to help Kerim find the killer.
Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana, to a childrens librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books.