03 Sep '11

Review – Ten Ruby Trick by Julia Knight

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Ten Trick Ruby

Van Gast has done something stupid; he has stolen a ship that carried the future bride of the Master of all Mages. These Magical creatures have the ability to bind army’s of men to them, to create unquestioning, willing servants, to see to do all their bidding. However, they have no need to create unwilling servants, the entire Remorian race is happy to carry their bonds. Now the Master has his Remorian army, led by his Commander Holden, searching for Van Gast to exact revenge. They kidnap his archenemy, Josie, knowing that she knows his tricks better than most. But, she isn’t Van Gast’s enemy, she is his lover and their apparent conflict has been a ruse to earn more cash.  Josie is also the lover that Holden took before his bond to his Master was strengthened. She represents a freedom that exists only in his dreams, can ­he really break her, taker her freedom, to do his maters bidding?  If he tries, will she give up Van Gast, a man that adores the very ground she walks on? When she reappears after a few days absence with a Remorian man, Van Gast has to trust that the Ten Ruby Trick she set’s up won’t get him killed or, worse, bonded and destined to become a mindless drone.

I once read an article where a blogger argued that she could never love a Pirate hero because pirates are murderers and thieves by nature. I tend to agree, there is nothing nice about a true pirate. However, I would argue than Van Gast is not a typical pirate, because he quite clearly has redeemable features. Although he steals the ship at the start of the tale, he leaves everyone alive, with enough food and water to last until they are rescued. These are not the actions of a baddie. When the author contacted me, she said that other people had compared him to Captain Jack Sparrow but I can’t see any resemblance bar the occupation! Whereas Captain Jack is kooky, unpredictable and fearless to the point of stupidity, Van Gast struck me as the opposite. He is smooth, suave, careful (as long as it doesn’t involve Josie!) and quite successful. His magic is a sixth sense for trouble that manifests as an itchy breastbone; he isn’t likely to get himself into random trouble. Although he isn’t a perfect hero, he is still a likeable character. His trust in Josie has been unwavering, even though she gave him nothing in return, and I didn’t blame him when he had a little wobble…I would have given that relationship up as a bad job years before. The problem I did have was that there wasn’t a lot of time to see them together as a couple. I wanted her to get out of the clutches of the Master for him, not for them as a couple because, quite honestly, I didn’t know them as a couple.

My Version of Van Gast…..definitely NOT Captain Jack 🙂

Holden’s situation tore me apart. He is one of the most fabulously written Anti-hero’s I’ve ever met. If I’m honest, I was more interested in his story than his Van Gast (I’m sorry!) From the day he was born, his destiny was to carry the bond. He wasn’t born to be an idealist or have dreams; his path was not his to choose. His affair with Josie had been the highlight of his life, had given him hope that he could be something more. When they parted, he accepted his bond to the Master and became one of his henchmen. He did horrible things, but that was the price he was willing to be pay for the complete lack of control. He didn’t want to make decisions for himself, he wanted only to exist. My heart broke for him; that he would do this willingly was completely inconceivable to me. When he is ordered to take Josie, to break her spirit, he truly struggles. I wanted him to break free, I wanted him to become an individual who could do the good things….really, it was heart wrenching watching his inner turmoil.
Aside from the characters, I found this book challenging for the first couple of pages. I have never enjoyed classic fantasy, and I think that that influenced my opinion. Once I stopped being such a snob, I lost myself in the author’s imaginary realm. I was taken aback at just how evil the magic in this world is! The Mage’s cannot move for themselves, as their power exists as crystals on their skin that makes them a little bit like immovable rocks, so they create slaves. The bond takes over their victims and forces out any individual thoughts, creating an empty vessel that exists only to serve the Mage. It is truly terrifying, and what was even more terrifying was that an entire race of people were willing to take the bond, to do something else’s bidding, rather than have the uncertainly of individuality.  If Julia Knight wanted her readers unsettled, she did a good job J

Overall, a fantastic romp with characters that draw you in and get themselves into situations that leave your heart in your throat. I’d like to see a sequel; I really can’t give a book any more kudos than that J


Nix

3 Responses to “Review – Ten Ruby Trick by Julia Knight”

  1. Great review, looks like something which I should look into.

    And love the new header/layout!

    I started a new header for mine, kinda, I guess I should finish it.

  2. You know what? This might be the book to help me get over my dislike for pirates. Might give it a try. As for pirates being the bad guys. Read The Hunter..then we'll talk again after you've sided with an assassin 😉
    Great review, Nic!

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