Book Review: Lost Covenant by Ari Marmell—and a Giveaway!

Lost CovenantLost Covenant
A Widdershins Adventure
Ari Marmell
Pyr, December 2013
ISBN 978-1-61614-811-9

Widdershins has returned to Davillon, a ghost in the crowd come to visit the dead. But her journey leads her to another city. Dogged by spies and enemies she must fulfill a debt. But that debt brings with it pain and suffering and not just for her. Can she save the Delacroix family in time or will their enemies bring the old family crumbling down? Good thing the Gods are on her side…well, maybe just the one.

This is a post medieval-esque romp revolving around a likeable lead with a murky past. Widdershins, or Shins as she likes to be called is a former thief from Davillon but who spends most of her time in this title sprinting around Aubier looking out for the distant family of a man who cared for her but is now dead. She has unnatural skills with weapons, agility and speed but you find that these are being helped along by someone of a higher power. There is much to like in this title, especially since it is well written and contains interesting characters. The plot was interesting, full of action and hints of double crosses and betrayals. It has a great pace to it and it alludes to previous adventures and more yet to come.

But there are a few points in the book that I didn’t like. Firstly, Shins converses with and is aided by a God of which she is the last, sole worshipper. In turn, this god, Olgun, gives her assistance such as extra speed, more perceptive hearing etc. which they both use to her advantage. After all, if she dies, so does Olgun. But it’s the manner of their conversing that began to irritate me after a while. The conversation you see is all one-sided. Shins answers each of Olgun’s questions by repeating what the god has said with her answer tagged on the end. Now, while this God inhabits her body and communicates with her via her mind, he/she seems unable to know her thoughts unless she speaks them aloud. Maybe this has been addressed in previous books but for me, it was irritating and awkward. For instance, I’m sure the reader would have been able to keep up if Olgun’s conversation was, say, in italics while Shins stayed in normal font. Then at least, the reader could be in on the joke while other characters were left in the dark. As it is, we’re just as ignorant as they are and have to work out what’s being said by ourselves. Like I said, it’s irritating. Also, the author sometimes tries too hard to make Shins funny. I mean, I get it that she’s strong yet vulnerable with a sarcastic wit but at times, it all seems overdone and forced. And finally, one last gripe…there are too many instances of gaping, gawping and general slack-jawed expressions among the characters, giving the impression that most people run around with confused and shocked faces most of the day. While this might be true in certain towns in Ireland (more due to the Guinness if I’m honest), I don’t think it should be the case here.

I’d still recommend this book though and I think that if the author was willing to smooth out some of the more irksome points, he’d have a romping great series that would do well with any number of teenagers and adults alike.

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, February 2014.

Leave a comment below and you might be
the lucky winner of a print copy of Lost Covenant
by Ari Marmell
! The winning name will be
on the evening of Friday, March 14th.
Open to residents of the US and Canada.