Book Review: Roadside Magic by Lilith Saintcrow

Posted May 11, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Book Review: Roadside Magic by Lilith Saintcrow

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Roadside Magic by Lilith Saintcrow
Series: Gallow and Ragged #2
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit on January 26, 2016
Pages: 323
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also in this series: Wasteland King

Also by this author: he Red Plague Affair, Dark Watcher, Trailer Park Fae, Wasteland King

Second in the Gallow & Ragged urban fantasy series and revolving around Robin Ragged and those who want to capture her.

My Take

Saintcrow uses a third person global subjective point-of-view from the perspectives of Robin, Gallow, and Crenn, so we know their fears, wonders, desires, and past knowledge. A darn good thing, as we wouldn’t know how much Robin fears the “real” reason that Gallow wants to protect her, and Gallow has his own doubts about a woman raised in Summer’s Court while Crenn has his own past eating away at him no less than that promise of Summer’s to make him whole again.

While Gallow & Ragged is a compelling perspective on the sidhe, it could be a more fascinating and tension-filled story, if Saintcrow had worked Ragged’s fears that Gallow was out for himself. It’s an equal palement when set beside Alastair’s curiosity and desire for vengeance, as he tracks both Robin and Gallow. It’s all too soft. The oddness of it is what pulls me in and want to know what happens, but it is simply too much like a dream.

There are some titillating hints of plague spreading in Summer, with me hoping Summer gets it. Serve the bitch right. And I do love how Saintcrow provides us with back history on the characters. Very nicely done without those dreaded info dumps.

Saintcrow brought my attention back to the our world with scattered snippets of human encounters with the fae that could go well or ill. These tiny tales kept my heart a’flutter for there was no indication of which way the luck would fall.

Primarily, Roadside Magic is a chase with Crenn set on Robin with Gallow as an unexpected bonus while Gallow wants to protect Robin, for he’s falling in love with her — and nothing to do with Daisy, thank-you-very-much! Ah, now Crenn, Crenn had thought it was all set in stone until he encounters his prey and begins to doubt what he’s been told, what he thinks, and what he wants.

The Story

Summer’s borders are broken, the plague is spreading. And Unwinter, Summer’s assassin, Gallow, and Puck are chasing our Ragged, for reasons that twine and twist.

Summerhome is recovering but slowly from Unwinter’s raid and furious with Ragged, angry enough to promise Crenn his beauty if he brings her to him unharmed.

Yet Robin finds friends along the way, when she visits Sean’s family home, when she names the changeling, even her assassin…

And Unwinter flies the black flags of war.

The Characters

Robin Ragged loved her Sean, a young boy stolen from our world. Robin may be only half-fae, but she’s a Realmaker who has a VOICE that can kill, and she lives, lived?, at Court in service to Summer. Daisy was her human sister, lured into a crash. Daddy Snowe had been their nasty stepfather. The hound became with a power Robin should not have had; now it answers to Pepperbuckle and protects his Robin.

Jeremiah Gallow, a.k.a., Gallow-my-glass, is another who is half-fae and yet he’d been strong enough, wily enough to have been Summer’s Armormaster for a time. Until he fell in love with a human, Daisy. He still carries the dwarven-inked lance no Finnion dwarf had expected him to survive. Now he also carries Unwinter’s Horn and Ragged’s life as a boon from Summer.

The Fae

Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a., the Fatherless, Eldest, or Puck, never learns that there is a time and a place for mischief, especially if it’s bad.

Summer is…
…the Seelie side ruled by Eakkanthe of Summer, her true personality opposite the beauty of her season. Braghn Moran is a highblood, and high in Summer’s favor, having forgotten his former lover, Feathersalt. Broghan Trollsbane is the Armormaster. Dryads; naiads; goatborn; dwarves; nymphs; brughnies; the troll Master of the Drums with his taiko, Heartbeat; selkies; wights; and, the Tainted are at home in the Summer realms.

Alastair Crenn, the Huntsman of Marrowdowne, is a Half knight assassin, half-fae, half-human who suffered a horrible disfigurement decades ago. Back when he’d still been friends with Gallow, a friendship begun in that orphanage. Madge the Wanderer had made his footwear. Sarah had been the schoolteacher he loved.

Unwinter is…
…the Unseelie side, ruled by Lord Harne of Unwinter, Lord of the Hunt, lord of the Unhallowed. Broghan the Black, a glassmaster formerly known as Cailas Redthorn, is the envoy sent. Some of the Unseelies include wights, trolls, and drow.

The dwarves are…
…neither Seelie nor Unseelie. It’s said that the uglier the dwarf, the more beautiful their work.
Hilzhunger is a dwarf and the Red Clan chieftain, the Unclean, a clan who specializes in glasswork and usually sides with Summer. Findergast is an excellent chirugeon who helps Gallow.

The Goblin Markets are…
…many and one: a Moroccan alleyway, a Parisian cobblestoned corner, a bodega, anywhere really, and ordered by the Vene Venesa Clan. Medvedev Dadalo the Builder is the lord of the Markets, a goblin prince, a.k.a., the Head Gobbler, who owes a favor or three.

In Our World

Eddie Sharnaham is grateful for his insurance and for Juniper, his black-and-white cat. Clyde is a work buddy. Natty owns a diner where Mike Ramirez works as a busboy. Bill is the bigoted cook. Pete Craddock is a homeless man, crazy from the war. Jimmy McClintock had been a friend of the street. Bad Mandy whispers about things in the dark. Father Ernest McKenzie does what he can to help. Amelia had been the lady to whom he would have proposed.

The carnies
Timmo the Greek plays guitar. Acacia works the ring-tosses. Leo is the manager. More carnies include Matilda who is a fortune-teller, Joey, Marylou is the cook, Guster who always wears red-checked flannel, Rick, Kastner is a barker with a preference for pot, and the drunken Marlon.

The Savoigh Limited is…
…an aging dowager of a building brought back into a life.

Realmaking is the ability to make something REAL that lasts past dawn unlike the chantments a fullblood can make from nothing. Jacob Henzler had been Summer’s prize scientist. Shusweed shoved in someone’s mouth will silence them.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cheerful sort of grim with speed in a starry (and muddy) green background. I know, what a contradiction! It’s Gallow in black leather pants, motorcycle boots, and a black tank top, Ragged’s necklace swinging from his neck as he leans low over a black motorcycle, his face in profile, grim and determined, his spear in gloved hand. His tattoos swirl up his arms with the right encased in a determined fiery spin of parallel lines, the flame of his spear flowing back to join them. The title is justified left at the top in a greenish yellow while the author’s name spreads across the bottom in white surrounded by a red glow with a couple of testimonials just above it in white.

The title encompasses the good and the bad, the Roadside Magic that can take you up or spit you out.

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4 responses to “Book Review: Roadside Magic by Lilith Saintcrow

    • I expect the fae to be duplicitous, etc., but I sure didn’t expect Saintcrow’s take on the Seelie side of things…whew… Wait’ll you read how they “keep” the Summerlands all nice and pretty. Oh. Boy.

  1. This is actually one of my favorite covers! And your detailed review makes me want to try this series- I’d seen this around before but never really dove into the synopsis or a detailed review. Sounds fun!

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