285209Stand alone story by Patricis Briggs, the Hob’s Bargain follows a young woman with a lot of magic, trying to survive in a world where the only accepted mages are users of blood magic who end everyone to their will and go mad from the power they hold.  Understandably, when she discovered her powers, she’s wary of them and how the people of her town will perceive her.

Long ago in this world, the blood mages bound the magic of the earth so the fae creatures -wildlings – would be pushed back and cease to bother humanity as most wildings needed the magic of the earth to survive.   Somehow, someone unbound the magic of the earth and the wildlings begin to return.

Living in a valley under the shadow of a mountain called Hob’s Mountain Aren, along with a few others from her village, seek out the hob to aid them against raiders and wildlings less accepting of humanity.  And after a time the hob -he’s always just referred to as ‘the hob’ no real name for the most part- agrees for a price.  A woman of child bearing years to be his bride.  For the hob is the last of is kind as far as he knows, and the mountain has spoken to him to go forth and procreate.

Much more happens of course, but in the end The Hob’s Bargain turns out to be an inter-species love story, and quite an intriguing one at that.  Wish there were more set in this world.  I would have liked to see and explore more as I think there’s a lot here that Briggs hasn’t tapped yet.

Ah well.  Can’t always get what you want.  And now we’re back to the Realms with a new series, Song and Swords qintet by Elaine Cunningham, starting with Elfshadow.

19855Silent death stalks the Harpers of Faerun. One by one, members of the semi-secret society for good in the Realms are falling to a murderer’s blade. Now a Harper agent and a beautiful half-elf assassin must solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be the next victims.

But things in the Realms are rarely that simple.