I can't say I was disappointed
in this book, but I think it's much weaker than Briggs's later efforts.
The world is interesting (although this is the third in a trilogy, apparently, it's the only one I've read), but the story itself is uneven. 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. That's not to say it's bad, perhaps just a bit technical and convoluted. It led to a very exciting climax so the confusion was forgivable.
The heroine, Shamera aka "Sham", is a thief who's also a wizard in hiding. The laws of the land do not tolerate magic, so she hides in the slums amongst the rabble who were likewise put out by the invaders who took over the land many years prior.
Kerim, the noble and controversial ruler aka "the Reeve", of the region enlists Sham's aid in identifying and ridding the castle and environs of a serial killer. He brings her in as a thief, not believing in magic, but he's about to get an education.
There are some seriously creepy parts to this story, moments of suspense and a mild romance. The romance was the most disappointing, although I realize Briggs is not a romance writer, it could have used more attention.
There were several moments where I wondered how Sham had stayed alive so long being so obtuse, but she still managed to be incredibly brave, as all Briggs heroines tend to be. She's extremely cheeky, which was amusing, also a Briggs trademark.
The Reeve reminded me of Adam from the Mercy Thompson series. Being reminded of Adam is a good thing. A very good thing.
But there were still unanswered questions. It ends with a quicky chapter that doesn't really give us much insight into what might happen in the future. I want to know how certain things work out, not the least of which is the romance.
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.