Saturday, October 06, 2007

Tinker by Wen Spencer: good on many levels

I finished Tinker by Wen Spencer yesterday. It was a relatively quick read for a non-romance. I guess I finished it in about 10 days but I also read a few books at the same time. I guess romantic books get read quicker because of the pull of the romantic relationship. Having said that, maybe that is why I finished this quickly. Tinker is a great heroine, smart, likeable, human, and interesting. The world is an interesting one: Pittsburgh with a twist. In this book, Pittsburgh goes from Earth to Elfhome every 28 days because of a gate between the worlds. Hence, it's not quite considered Earth.
This book is immersed in a world of magic meets science. The elves live in a world of magic, but on Earth magic is linked to and explained by science. Tinker, a mechanical genius, is able to exploit the link between magic and science.
The book opens with a bang: Tinker saves a beautiful, aristocratic elf from large, carnivorous creatures trying to kill him when they barge into her salvage yard. It turns out they have a link because the elf Windwolf saved her life as an eight year old, and cast a spell that linked his lifeforce to hers. He is badly injured and needs her mechanical/magical expertise to keep him alive until they can get him back to Elfhome. He is very impressed with her and falls for her as a result. Tinker spends some time wondering how an elf like Windwolf, rich, high-born, and perfect to her, could be interested in her. It turns out that she has been crushing on him since she was eight years old.
I won't spoil the rare person who happens to read this blog entry, but let us say that Windwolf is not about to let Tinker walk out of his life. Their romance unfolds in a very fascinating, enjoyable manner, with some good action and magic as well. There is also another potential love interest that I spend a few moments wondering if Tinker wasn't more likely to end up with him.
If you like magic and elves, but also credible science with fiction thrown in, this book will do it for you. I must admit some of the quantum physics went over my head, because I'm more of a biological scientist. But I don't consider that an impediment to enjoying the book.
Also if you like kickbutt heroines, you will also love this book. As a matter of fact, I am adding Tinker to my list of favorite, unusual, and in her own way, kickbutt heroines. She definitely earned it as, she saves the day more than a few times. Few heroines make this list, so this is quite a compliment.
Some may find Tinker's internal back and forth about her relationship with Windwolf annoying, but since she is an 18 year old with no romantic experience, I found it realistic. I know I certainly wouldn't have recognized my true love at 18 years of age.
Windwolf is dreamy and intriguing, and although he is not in the book as much as I would like, you know that he's waiting in the background and is a significant part of the storyline, and that definitely is satisfying.
I like the premise of the book and the memorable characters, although some seem to drop off the page. I wonder if they reemerge in the sequel. One thing for sure, I am rooting for Tinker and Windwolf to have a long, loving life together.
I heartily recommend this book to urban fantasy, romance, and magical book fans, with a good bit of science thrown in.