Paperback Perils: The Hob’s Bargain

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Title: The Hob’s Bargain
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publication Date: 2001
Publishing House: Ace Books

A friend of mine introduced me to Patricia Briggs books in the form of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. I picked this book up at my favorite used book store, Recycled Books, this January along with a few others.

From Goodreads

Hated and feared, magic was banished from the land. But now, freed from the spells of the wicked bloodmages, magic—both good and evil—returns. And Aren of Fallbrook feels her own power of sight strengthen and grow…

Overcome by visions of mayhem and murder, Aren vows to save her village from the ruthless raiders who have descended upon it—and killed her family. With the return of wildlings to the hills and forests, she strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, human-like creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob is the last of his kind. And he will exact a heavy price to defend the village—a price Aren herself must pay…

This is an enjoyable quick fantasy story and it is a stand alone novel. Briggs pus an interesting spin on magic in that the natural magic that can be drawn from the earth has been locked away by bloodmages. Those born with a natural talent for magic are either killed or turned into bloodmages if they are discovered.

Aren is a smart and determined heroine despite her village’s fear of her magic and the growing power in the land. She sets out to save her home and the people that live there even though many do not trust her. She does her best to do what is right.

The Hob, Caefawn, is not what I expected, he is witty and crafty but not cruel. My favorite detail though is that he is aware of his own limitations. Aren is newly coming into her power and is still learning all that she is capable of. Caefawn on the other had is old and has lost his people, he is perfectly aware of what he can and cannot do.

My only issue with this book is that it is too short. I like the world and would love to learn more about it. We only see the valley in which Fallbrook sits and a town just on the other side of the pass but even so it is a rich world. The characters and the magical creatures deserve to be explored more.

I recommend this book for fans of fantasy, for fans of magical creatures, and for fans of Patricia Briggs. Happy reading.

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