Sebastian by Anne Bishop I’m often thrown for a loop when I pick up a book that I put on hold based on reading the review (I think I’ve mentioned this before.) This time, I get the book, as usual with no memory of the review. I start reading, and discover that it’s a fantasy novel (OK, that was obvious from the brooding hunk in a floppy white shirt on the cover.) The hunk turns out to be a half-breed incubus with – you guessed it – a heart of gold. I groan. What was I thinking? “Single incubus, tall, dark and handsome, in search of fun and possible LTR.” And how many stereotypical fantasy readers would that description appeal to?
In fact, the book was enjoyable and had an intriguing conceit, so I will continue with a more serious review. Eons ago, Ephemera was torn by war, fighting against the Eater of Worlds. Eventually, Ephemera was split into thousands of tiny pieces – landscapes – and the Eater locked into one. The ever-shifting landscapes are created by the Landscapers and joined by Bridges, who build bridges from one landscape to another. Some bridges always connect the same places; others take you where your heart truly wants to be. In Ephemera, we meet Belladonna, the rogue Landscaper who was exiled when she built a landscape where demons could be at home; Sebastian, her half-incubus cousin for whom she built the landscape; and Lynnea, an abused young woman looking for a home where she will be wanted and loved. The romance is heavier than the s3x as Lynnea and Sebastian rather predictably find each other. But the Eater of Worlds is once again on the loose, against defenses that are weak inside and out. It’s up to Belladonna to save Ephemera – and Sebastian to save the Den of Iniquity. Though sequels aren’t explicitly mentioned, the ending leaves many plot ends loose, so one is hopefully on the way.