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Elfhome Hardcover – July 3, 2012
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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About the Author
John W. Campbell Award Winner Wen Spencer resides in paradise in Hilo, Hawaii with two volcanoes overlooking her home. Spencer says that she often wakes up and exclaims "Oh my god, I live on an island in the middle of the Pacific!" This, says Spencer, is a far cry from her twenty years of living in land-locked Pittsburgh. According to Spencer, she lives with "my Dali Llama-like husband, my autistic teenage son, and two cats (one of which is recovering from mental illness.) All of which makes for very odd home life at times." Spencer's love of Japanese anime and manga flavors her writing. The Elfhome series opener, Tinker, won the 2003 Sapphire Award for Best Science Fiction Romance and was a finalist for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Fantasy Novel. Wolf Who Rules, the sequel to Tinker, was chosen as a Top Pick by Romantic Times and given their top rating of four and a half stars.
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Top customer reviews
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"Elfhome" is the third of the series and the most complex in terms of narration, character development and social context. We travel with Tinker as she discovers more about her powers and as she begins to accept her role as the co-leader of the Elves, but the real stories are Oilcan's (Tinker's cousin) and Tommy's, the leader of the Humans and half-Oni who remain after the Elves purge the Oni from Pittsburgh. In Oilcan's case, the progression he goes through as he almost accidentally accepts responsibility for Elfin teenagers who are kidnapped by the Oni stands well on its own but serves as a wonderful counterpoint to his cousin Tinker's break-neck journey down the same path. Tommy, on the other hand, has too much responsibility and an "us versus them" attitude that served well when his extended family were slaves of the Oni. The war with the Oni and the interaction of the Elfin, Human, Tengu (raven-like humanoids created by the Oni) and half-Oni eventually cause Tommy to understand that his policy of isolation, like Oilcan's, isn't tenable and that his race must join the others if they are to win. There are subtle enjoyments as well: I didn't piece together the humor in naming a Tengu bar "Four and Twenty" (as in "four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie") until the third reading.
The story offers a number of loose ends, so there lots of possibilities for sequels. It goes without saying that I look forward to many more in this series.
I really enjoyed the switch in the story. Oilcan has always been quietly supportive of Tinker, so I was happy to learn more about him and to see where his strength came from. Seeing the world through his eyes really helped me understand why he is so protective... especially of children. Since Oilcan saw his mother murdered by his father, he has strived to protect his family while also not becoming his father. He finds his world turned upside-down when he becomes the protector of five Stone Clan children and when his great-great-great-etc-grandfather Forge of Stone appears.
Tommy has an equally sad past as well as a desire to be a better man than his father ever was. As the son of the deceased oni-leader Lord Tomtom, Tommy has seen his family abused and killed, and has taken care of the other half-oni children, even those that no one wants to see. When his family is threatened due to the actions of others, Tommy has to prove that he is innocent by rescuing Jewel Tear from the hands of the oni.
This story illustrates more than anything that all of the people are all one clan in the Westernlands. They are not Wind Clan or Stone Clan or Humans or Tengu or Half-Oni. They are Pittsburgh.
This is one of my favorite series. Tinker and Oilcan are great characters, and here they, along with several other major characters, are confronted by their own issues and have to decide whether to change, or to make the same choices they've always fallen into. Politics are more to the fore in this story, and the challenges of blending so many races living in a small area.