Title: Swords, Sorcery, and Sundry
Author: Mina MacLeod
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Words: 90,000 (novel)
Characters: Wizard Sylvain Zhamell and Assassin Niklas Valconaire
POV: Third Person, current tense
Sub-Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Kisses: 4.5 Kisses
A wizard, a soldier, and an assassin walk into a bar…
Wizard Sylvain just wants to sit down and have a drink, after days of walking when a shortage of funds forced him to sell his horse. Soldier Ashe would like to enjoy her evening, and not have it ruined by trouble. Assassin Niklas wishes they had both minded their own business and not made his bad night worse.
The bar they accidentally burn down is only the beginning, and they quickly learn that if they are to survive their penchant for trouble, teamwork will get them farther than standing alone.
“Swords, Sorcery, and Sundry” is not a typical romance story, rather it is more a fantasy adventure story that happens to include the beginning of a relationship. I was worried it was going to be a ménage, what with the mention of Ashe, but the romance is purely between the two males of the trio.
After wandering aimlessly across the countryside, three strangers converge at a bar they end up accidentally burning down. This story is about the journey sparked by an overly enthusiastic fireball. Broke, or close to it, all three are now responsible for the cost of repairing the main room of the inn. A fortuitous offer of employment sends them off on a trip to a deserted city and by the time they return they are fast friends. Feeling like they have known each other forever, even though they just met, the trio decide to go into business together.
To be honest, if it hadn’t been for the fact the story is written in present tense instead of past tense, “Swords, Sorcery, and Sundry” would have a 5+ rating from me. The characters are well written, and I love Ashe “Something of Somewhere”. A swordswoman of no small skills, she is confident, bold, and loves nothing more than a good fight and a good celebration afterwards. In our times, she would be labelled a feminist. Going into business together is actually her idea. And their reasons for each being on the road and in need of finances are varied and suit their personalities perfectly.
The best bit was the boisterousness and spunk of the characters. Even Sylvain, who is a little quieter than the other two, has some interesting traits. Like missing the horse he had to sell and hoping she forgave him. Or answering “sanity” when asked if they had forgotten anything before they went off on their first job together.
I would definitely recommend this for fantasy adventure lovers and people who enjoy great character building. It’s a long book, but don’t expect to be able to put it down easily before you reach the end.
I haven’t read any other books by this author, but I am looking at maybe getting one or two. Hopefully they won’t be written in present tense like this one, but even if they are, I’m fairly sure they will be an enjoyable read at the very least.
Reviewed by Alison