Monday, April 18, 2011

Review - TRUTHSEEKER by C.E. Murphy

Release date: August 31, 2010 (Del Rey)
Trade paperback: 336 pgs


Gifted with an uncanny intuition, Lara Jansen nonetheless thinks there is nothing particularly special about her. All that changes when a handsome but mysterious man enters her quiet Boston tailor shop and reveals himself to be a prince of Faerie. What’s more, Dafydd ap Caerwyn claims that Lara is a truthseeker, a person with the rare talent of being able to tell truth from falsehood. Dafydd begs Lara to help solve his brother’s murder, of which Dafydd himself is the only suspect.

Acting against her practical nature, Lara agrees to step through a window into another world. Caught between bitterly opposed Seelie forces and Dafydd’s secrets, which are as perilous as he is irresistible, Lara finds that her abilities are increasing in unexpected and uncontrollable ways. With the fate of two worlds at stake and a malevolent entity wielding the darkest of magic, Lara and Dafydd will risk everything on a love that may be their salvation—or the most treacherous illusion of all. 

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Find the book(s): Truthseeker / Wayfinder (TBR)


I had been looking forward to reading Truthseeker for a while - a faerie tale from one of the first writers to drag urban fantasy into the mainstream? Hell yes, please.

Down-to-earth Lara Jensen reminded me a lot of "Bones" heroine Temperance Brennan: she's straightforward, honest, and literal to an often humorous extreme. It's not entirely her fault, though; Lara is a Truthseeker, gifted with the rarest of magic. Her power allows her to feel truth and deceit along a spectrum of perceptions, often through sound. To Lara, when something "rings false" it really rings. 

Lara knows there is something off about Dafydd ap Caerwyn the moment he introduces himself as David Kirwen, and Murphy does not draw things out unnecessarily (a huge plus) before showing us what it is. Dafydd is a prince of the Seelie Court, and he has been looking for Lara for a long, long time. A hundred years to be exact, though only days have passed in the Barrow-lands he calls home, where he stands accused of his brother's murder.

The opening pages moved a little slow for me. The exaggerated nonverbal communication and revelation of backstory through dialogue along the lines of "As you know, xxx..." was a bit much for me, although it accomplished its goal of painting distinct characters and shaping personalities that remained delightfully consistent throughout the book. Patience with my own impatience was generously rewarded within the first fifty pages, and after that I couldn't put the book down.

Murphy is adept at exotic worldbuilding and I expect that from her, which might help explain why I was somewhat bored in the mundane streets of Boston. From the moment Lara entered the Barrow-lands, I knew I was screwed: there was no way I was putting this book down, and I would probably be late for work in the morning (I was). Murphy's Barrow-lands are breathtaking and shadowed by malevolence, the mythos woven by a pro.

Rating:   (4/5 weeblies)  
Recommend?  Yes.
Etc:  Look for the sequel and closing chapter, Wayfinder, due September 6, 2011.

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