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Tinker (Elfhome, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (December 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743498712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743498715
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wit and intelligence inform this off-beat, tongue-in-cheek fantasy from Spencer (Alien Taste, etc.), set in near-future Pittsburgh-or rather, the part of Pittsburgh that's been translated to the Faerie world of Elfhome by a faulty hyperphase gate created by the Chinese. After 18-year-old tech genius Tinker saves Windwolf, the elven governor of North America on Elfhome, from a pack of nasty wargs, Windwolf in gratitude turns her into an elf and makes her his consort. In her new and important position, Tinker becomes the target for a conspiracy of humans, elves and oni (Japanese demons that control their own part of Faerie) who are trying to build another gate for use in conquering Earth and Elfhome. Furious action, including a memorable car chase, good characterization, playful eroticism and well-developed folklore all help lift this well above the fantasy average. The routine jacket art, of an elven biological dirigible, probably won't help, but Buffy fans should find a lot to like in the book's resourceful heroine. FYI: Spencer has won the 2003 John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Spencer's latest novel is as imaginative and weird as usual for him, and it makes the same effective use of her old hometown, Pittsburgh, as a setting. This time a part of early-twenty-first-century Pittsburgh is taken through an interdimensional gate into Elfland. Tinker, a young orphan who runs a salvage yard in the city, rescues the local elvenlord from assassins, and thereafter finds herself entangled in a magnificent web of romance; plots involving humans, elves, and oni (Japanese demons); and a race to build another gate by means of which the oni can conquer both Earth and Elfland. Spencer's intertwining of current Earth technology and otherworldly elven magic is quite ingenious. But the whole novel possesses ebullient humor, and even the sex is entertaining, though there may be rather a lot of it for some readers' taste. The book ends with a cliffhanger, so Spencer is clearly kicking off another series. Most readers of this book will consider that good news. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The characters are wonderful and the plot and concepts of the story intriguing.
I liked the character, there were some great bits in the beginning dealing with her brilliance, but she seemed a little too brilliant.
Edward K. Lincoln
Tinker was a very strong central female character which I found very compelling.
Jenine M. Cafarella

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Silmarwen VINE VOICE on January 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's shutdown time again and part of the city of Pittsburgh has once again been returned to Earth. For most of the year, it resides on the planet of Elfhome or the Faerie World where all of the human inhabitants have come to rely on magic instead of science. Most elves were not really interested in the short lived humans and none of them wanted to be stuck on Earth during shutdown time, even though it was only for 24 hours. That is why it was so unusual to see an elf running through Tinker's scrapyard. Tinker immediately recognized him as Windwolf, the elf who had saved her life several years ago. Windwolf placed what Tinker assumed was a life debt on her and who knew how that linked them together? Fearing that, if Windwolf died, she would die, Tinker heroically battles the terrifying wargs and manages to get rid of them, but Windwolf is gravely wounded. With no magic to heal him, Tinker must use all of her scientific know how and intrinsic genius to get him through the rest of Shutdown. Unfortunately, Tinker's problems don't end when she is finally able to get Windwolf to an elvish hospital...
Tinker and her cousin Oilcan are attacked by some random suits who try to kill Windwolf and any witnesses to the attack. Then there is the NSA and EIA, both organizations very curious as to what is going on in the elvish power structure and wanting to know a little bit more information about the scientific genius who just happens to be Tinker. Turns out that the feds have finally caught up with her and know that she has the mental ability to construct another gate, like the gate that links Earth to Elfhome. But humans aren't the only ones who know that Tinker has this ability - the oni, or Japanese demons, are determined to conquer Earth & Elfhome and are trying to use Tinker to do it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "read_er" on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
European Elves, Japanese Oni, the city of Pittsburgh spending 1 day a month on earth and 30 days on the world of Faerie, and an eighteen year old girl who makes Eienstein look mentally challenged. These are the elements that Ms. Spencer weaves into a highly entertaining tale.
Tinker is an inventive genius, born ten years after her father died, who has spent all of her eighteen year growing up in this strange/familiar city of Pittsburgh. Brilliant, inventive and brave it developes that she is the pivot upon which the fate of worlds turns.
These elements could have been put together into a terrible book. But Wen Spencer's supurb writing turns them into a wonderful romp. The only disappointment was that the story ends far to soon. One can only hope that Ms. Spencer plans to revisit Tinker at some time in the future.
Read this book. Then if you have not read her first three books, get your paws on them and read them.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
On the Rim of Elfhome in Pittsburgh, business owner Tinker and her cousin Oilcan are moving around wrecks that temporarily reside in her Pittsburgh Scrap and Salvage yard to makes room for the influx of new vehicles that Shutdown Day always brings to her. However, a power failure leads to her gadgets inability to keep out the local flow of magic that jumps sky high when a pack of wargs chase an Elf into her scrap yard.
Preferring to literally mind her business, Tinker laments that the prey has to be Windwolf, an arrogant noble who saved her life five years ago from a saurus, but placed a life debt on her that forces her to help. Not long afterward every official from the NSA to the EIA (Elfin Interdimensional Agency) make demands of Tinker. Even those not officially officious want a piece of her. All Tinker desires is to remain in Pittsburgh wanting her first kiss on her first date, but alas even the city will not cooperate as it is no longer earth tied.
Anyone who thought Pittsburgh was Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins, oh my, will quickly change their mind with Wen Spencer's wild fantasy. The story line is as fast as a novel can go yet the key players seem genuine. Readers will adore the harried heroine, an ingenious tinker who has never been kissed (but is standing on an Elven mound not a pitcher's mound). Windwolf lives up to his clan's reputation for inhuman haughtiness though this human has breeched his soul. Amusing, ironic and loaded with daring and dastardly deeds, TINKER is a wonderful tongue-in-cheek fantasy joy ride around the city by the three rivers.
Harriet Klausner
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SciFiFan on January 26, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's barely possible to suspend disbelief that Pittsburgh shifts between normal reality and elfland through a very implausible mechanism.

The protagonist, Tinker, is just a bit too hard to like and you don't really find yourself rooting for her or really worried when she gets into trouble, especially after you meet Windwolf. You just know the author isn't going to let anything too bad happen to her.

Her love interest, the elf-leader Windwolf, is pretty much a cardboard character; no depth, no interest to his personality. And he's downright stupid, which makes it even harder to work up much interest in whether Tinker gets him or not. I don't think the author meant him to be stupid, but that's how he comes across.

Consider the first time we meet this wise, powerful elf-lord: He's chased into Tinker's junk-yard by a pack of monster "Foo" dogs and stands them off heroically with his sword, then his dagger when he loses his sword, then he's on the ground being savaged (page 8 already!) when Tinker rescues him but is menaced by the dogs herself until...wait for it...Windwolf pulls out a gun and shoots the dog to rescue Tinker.
So...if the Wise Elf Warrior had a gun all along why didn't he just shoot the beasts in the first place and save himself and tinker all that trouble?!?!?!??

Because the author needed a dramatic rescue-each-other scene and a wounded Windwolf to drive their relationship and the story line through the rest of the book, that's why.

It's entertaining enough what-happens-next storytelling if you have nothing better to do and don't mind putting your brain and critical faculties into neutral for an afternoon.
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