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Elfhome Hardcover – July 3, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Elfhome Series

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Series: Elfhome
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Baen; 1St Edition edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451637837
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451637830
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #706,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am so happy with this book! It was not at all what I was expecting but it was a perfect surprise. Now, I just have to articulate it all! All I have to say is if you loved "War For The Oaks", "Finder", and all those awesome Borderlands stories & collections by Emma Bull and Will Shetterly- then you are going to adore this book.

I loved "Tinker"- one of those rare books that just hits every single note right. I wasn't as fond of "Wolf Who Rules" but it continued "Tinker". "Elfhome" seems like a departure from "Tinker" but it is an expansion and continuation of the universe. And it fits that continuation squarely in the same "realm" as Emma Bull's stories.

Tinker is still a main character but not "the" main character. Wolf Who Rules is largely absent. And, Pony drops back into a secondary character. The story is not so much about the Elves and their society as it is about the races who have to navigate the elves' world- humans, and Tengu, and half-Oni, and all the others (non-Wind clan Elves, mainly) who are dispossessed by the brewing war with the Oni.

FYI- I don't like spoilers so I'm deliberately leaving out a lot.

This is Oilcan's story. And Tommy Chang's. And they are awesome. Interwoven among those two main story lines are secondary (not really but they aren't main characters and there are glimpses of their stories to come) characters whose lives have been screwed around with by the Elves, the Oni, and the war.

Tinker's part of the story is a seamless continuation of her character. Her adaptation to Elvish society continues but takes a backseat to her mad-scientist vs. the Oni story line. There is a great deal less explaining of protocol and history, in this book, than in "Wolf Who Rules".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't think Ms. Spencer gets enough credit for being a superlative writer. In "Tinker", she took us on a first-person roller-coaster ride, with lots of action, characters drawn in quick but careful strokes and some humor, all over a background of a clash between Human and Elfin cultures, with the Oni (Japanese demons) driving the plot and serving as the bad guys. "Wolf Who Rules" was a beautifully crafted story--I think of it as a duet between Tinker's narrative and that of Wolf Who Rules--woven through with the symbolism in Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and offering a deeper view into the political and social undercurrents of the Elves' castes and clans. While the Oni are still the main enemy, the Elves and Humans show their darker aspects as well. The book also handled some surprisingly sophisticated science in a way that was readable yet held within the bounds of plausibility--a difficult task, in my experience, for most authors within the fantasy genre.

"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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The third and best of the series, to date, brings to fruition all that began in the first two as Spencer painstakingly crafts her protagonists into the fully developed characters they have been winding towards. Do not read this as a standalone it was never intended to be that.
The only complaint that I have about it is the cover. I don't know whose idea it was to make tinker look like an aging porn star, but it is totally unlike anything I would envision tinker to be to the point of being annoying. Other than that this book stands with any fantasy I've read by anybody. Wen Spencer is among the best and is just hitting her stride here. What a joy to to read. Tinker is one brave hero and with her swiftly darting mind, just plain fun. In fact every character, good or evil, is crafted with a lovely clarity that is downright breathtaking.
When you start this book don't intend to be doing anything else for awhile. You won't be.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is in many ways a love song to Pittsburgh--to the resilence and passion and strength and petty squabbles of a city that has been through hell and keeps on going. In Spencer's trilogy, though, Pittsburgh is suffering not from the closure of factories and fall of the steel industry, but from being transported to an alien world populated by elves and monsters. The characters share an underdog characteristic and a fierce pride, but only some of them are human. Crow-like Tengu, half-oni former slaves, and runaway elf children all struggle to find a place in this city of contradictions. And binding them together is...Oilcan?

Tinker's cousin comes to prominence in this book, complementing Tinker's impetuousness with thoughtfulness, self-doubt--and the same idealistic courage that makes us love Tinker. Logical and artistic, solitary and loving, Oilcan comes into his own in this story in more ways than one. While Tinker grows and improvises her usual brilliant mayhem, it is Oilcan who carries the story. Other characters round out the picture with their very human emotions despite cat ears or birdlike feet. Honor, passion, revenge, grief and guilt play a symphony across the Steel City, and Spencer conducts them with grace and style

The story does not end with this book, any more than Pittsburgh does, but the conclusion is satisfying. I hope there will be more to come.
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