Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Tavali is a mage, a master thief, and his antics have just accidentally released one hundred demons across the dimensional plane. Now Tavali must recapture the errant demons, accompanied by a sentient sword determined to make him see the task through.
But fixing a mistake is always far more difficult than making it, and even love, magic, and a bossy sword may not be enough to save the day…
I thought that Life Itself by Elisabeth Bones a charming fantasy story. Mostly adventure with some romance thrown in (one already established when the story begins), Bones weaves a tale of a young mage/thief who’s mission is to set right something he has caused to go tragically wrong. In this case, because he wanted to prove that he was more talented than others, he set loose 100 demons that had been imprisoned by a Goddess in a mirror. Now he’s tasked by said furious Goddess not to rest or return home until all have been recaptured.
It’s quite the undertaking and the Goddess has sent a sentient sword to keep him focused and moving always onto the next demon. Luckily for Tavali, he also picked up a loving partner, Suran, as well. So the hunt for the demons has two people and one imperious sword doing the Goddess’ bidding.
I found myself wishing Bones had been a little clearer on the world building here. Apparently, the sword takes them from world to world chasing the demons which scattered all over the galaxy or various dimensions as it were. By the time the story beings, Tavali is extremely weary having recaptured all but 8.
I would have liked to have more of past demon hunts or something but except for the one where Tavali meets his prince/lover we don’t get much back story. And that’s a shame. Most of Life Itself revolves around one demon hunt. Good thing its a good one.
Bones creates a wonderful child character, a life force magic, and a demon to contend with for Tavali. In many ways I almost wished for more of this girl and her world. I found her charming, courageous, and someone I absolutely connected with.
In fact, most of my issues with this story is that I wish it were longer so that the author could add in more elements to her world building, back history to her characters, and just perhaps give us those last demons that remained to be hunted down.
I will certainly be on the lookout for more stories by Elizabeth Bones and recommend this one to all lovers of adventure and fantasy.
Cover art: Aisha Akeju. I like the cover, its visually pleasing and speaks of magic.
Published May 23rd 2018 by Less Than Three Press