RELEASE DATE: July 24, 2018
AUTHORS: Sarah Fine
GENRE: Adult, Urban-fantasy, Magic.
One woman is in a world of otherworldly trouble—and she’s going to have to bet her life to save humankind.
Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger has put her dreams aside to look after her eccentric mother. Case in point: saving her from a mysterious stranger who’s just stormed the terrified woman’s antique store wearing a rattlesnake tattoo, leveling threats, and brandishing the weirdest deck of cards Ernie’s ever seen.
When Ernie grabs some of the cards and runs, she’s launched into a world she never knew existed—one her mother may know more about than she’s revealing. With a handful of stolen cards, Ernie has just been made an unwilling player in a game of good versus evil. But she’s not even playing with a full deck, and its original owner is more than happy to kill to get his cards back.
Suddenly Ernie’s matching wits and plays with the supernatural Immortal Dealers, who can raise empires, damn souls, and shape the world’s destiny. It’s up to Ernie to defeat the most brutal member of their order. And if her roguish new ally isn’t bluffing, he can help. The mystery is all in the cards, and to save her life—and humanity—Ernie had better learn how to deal.
Sarah Fine always comes up with unique concepts and this one sounded very much promising so I really wanted to give it a shot. After having finished reading it, it has left me with mixed feelings. Certain aspects of the novel really intrigued me, while others failed to impress me. I absolutely loved the idea behind the concept of deck of magical cards and the immortal dealers but I also felt that it was lacking something. I wish the author provided more info about the world of Immortal dealers. The characters could’ve been better. The main character Ernie wasn’t bad but the secondary characters failed to grab my attention even though they seem like interesting characters. The romance felt a little meh which was a bit disappointing.
Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger has been in Asheville, North Carolina her enter life. Her best friends Dia and Jules are soon going to leave their town to move on with their life, but Ernie has to stay in Asheville and look after her emotionally ill mother who owns an antique store. Before Ernie and her friends gets separated, they decide to celebrate at a local bar where they meet a handsome tattooed stranger who completely freaks her best friend Jules. While confronting the stranger, Ernie angrily grabs some of his deck of cards and runs away from him. She soon learns that they’re not normal cards and somehow she unknowingly enters into a game that she doesn’t want to be a part of. The original owner of the cards will not stop until he steals back his cards from her and kill her. The only one who can help her is the rogue dealer named Gabe who wants something from her mother which she’s refusing to give up. When Gabe and Ernie learns of their enemy’s nefarious plans for their world, they both team up to fight against him, but first Ernie needs to earn the trust of the cards and learn to control them which isn’t an easy task when she’s faced with a deadly serpent.
Ernie is a likable character, but honestly she isn’t really my favorite protagonist. She’s actually a weak and naive character who slowly develops into a strong woman. When I saw the cover, I was expecting a pretty badass heroine fighting with her magical deck of cards, but she really isn’t. However, I really enjoyed her character development. The broody love interest Gabe was not bad. He has a sad past and I really wanted to love him, but I seriously can’t connect with this guy. There is a very light romance between Gabe and Ernie, but honestly I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. I hope it improves in the next book. The villain Duncan was evil and a total douche. The forger named Andy was an intriguing character. He’s smart, cunning, and mysterious. I really like to know more about him. I also liked Ernie’s spirit animal “The Serpent”. She’s smart, and sassy. The secondary characters aren’t fleshed out well enough but they all seem like interesting characters. I wish there was more girl friendship in this book. Ernie’s friends Dia and Jules didn’t played much part. They appeared whenever they’re needed and quickly disappeared.
The plot was interesting and very unique. I found the pacing a little bit slow which isn’t my favorite thing in urban fantasy books. The magical system was original and unique, but it was pretty hard to understand it. There are a total 54 magical cards in a deck and each deck is represented by an animal figure. Each card gives special powers to the dealer like deceive, Escape, heal, manipulate, gain strength, hide etc. To get control of the full deck you need to be strong enough and earn the trust of its spirit animal otherwise another dealer can steal away your cards pretty easily. It really took some time for me to understand how the whole card magic works but I’m still not sure about how the combination thing works and It was quite difficult to memorize the symbols of each card. It’s so crazy. I hope It’ll get easier maybe in the next book. I loved the writing. The whole book was told in Ernie’s third person pov. I didn’t payed much attention to the setting, but I think it was okay.
Overall, It was an okay-ish read. Although it didn’t blow me my mind away, I really loved the concept and the magical system so I’m definitely going to pick up the next book.
Despite the issues, I found this book very refreshing to read and I would definitely recommend it to all the urban fantasy lovers.
So, What do you think of this book? Have you read it yet? Do you Plan to read it?
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