Treasure & Treason cover image

Review – Treasure & Treason (Raine Benares #8) by Lisa Shearin

Reviewed by: E

An ancient power.
Hidden for millennia in a legendary city on an uninhabited continent, the Heart of Nidaar can harness the forces of nature itself. In the wrong hands, the artifact is a weapon that can command the power of the earth and seas to destroy all life. Just the type of power a sinister goblin brotherhood finds irresistible. In their hands, kingdoms will be forced to surrender to their rule.

A team of royals and rogues.
Chief mage (and nearly rehabilitated practitioner of black magic) Tamnais Nathrach is the perfect goblin duke to stop them. Along with elf pirate Phaelan Benares, these two have a roguish plan to sail to Aquas and snatch the Heart of Nidaar before it can fall into the wrong hands. After all, stealing hearts is what these two do best. Who cares if goblins and elves have been in a near constant state of war for centuries? This common enemy is enough motivation for some teamwork and a little professional competition.

The adventure of a lifetime.
Perhaps Tamnais and Phaelan have forgotten one small fact. Expeditions that sail to the continent of Aquas never return. It’s a blighted wasteland filled with creatures from nightmare and Tamnais might have failed to mention that the Heart has guardians, an ancient race willing to use deadly force to keep themselves and the artifact hidden. Alliances are tested, courage is challenged, and nothing less than the future of all life in the Seven Kingdoms is at stake in the deadliest—and most competitive—treasure hunt of all time.

This blurb came from Goodreads.

Shearin is an author I really think should receive more attention. She writes exciting urban fantasy and fantasy adventure, turns paranormal stereotypes on their heads, and injects both romance and humor. I fell for the Raine Benares series from the first paragraph of the first book, Magic Lost, Trouble Found. Along the way I discovered I had a soft spot for Tamnais, a dangerous and dangerously attractive goblin, a first for me. Bits and pieces of his past were revealed and some of his motivations became evident but I always thought there was more to discover so when Shearin revealed she was working on a story featuring Tam I was extremely excited. After reading the blurb and discovering that Raine’s relative, Phaelan, was going to work with Tam I couldn’t wait to start reading. Phaelan and Tam haven’t always had the best relationship so I was really curious to see how/if they would work things out.

I knew from previous books that life as a goblin, let alone a powerful goblin wasn’t for the timid or faint of heart. This was certainly evident early in Treasure & Treason as Tam tried to recruit some specific expertise for his trip and ended up fighting for his life. The action didn’t let down from there but for every act of attempted murder or sabotage (read explosion) a bond of friendship and loyalty grew or strengthened across the expedition.

I really enjoyed the balance and watching Tam release he wasn’t as alone as he thought. It was also very amusing as part of the emerging friendships to see Tam and Phaelen dance around each other. They were almost like opposite sides of the same coin – they both liked to be in charge, they both hunted treasure, and neither was enthralled with what the other had to offer. As time passed and more similarities became evident, the two started to realize working together involved a certain level and excitement and adventure. I also found myself carefully watching as Talon, Tam’s son, started to transition from a sullen, hormonal, emo teen/young adult into the promise she demonstrated in earlier books as a younger rascal. I will admit I got quite a kick out of watching Tam struggle with parenting a child with his own proclivities and some unusual aspects inherited from his mother.

In addition to the character interaction, the baseline adventure and its various obstacles magical, natural, and enemy were enthralling. Old enemies proved they still had influence, assumptions were proven false, and some secrets started to find their way into the light of the day. And did I mention dragons? I really liked how Shearin expanded her world and tied it to previously existing knowledge while furthering the conspiracy faced by the Seven Kingdoms.

My one concern/worry is that the antagonist(s) doesn’t become so powerful that I am unable to buy into how Tam and his allies manage to make their way through but Shearin has delivered so far and I am not going to doubt her now.. I think some of the reveals and setup so far mean Tam has more hidden inside then even he thought. I also think it will take blending several types of power/skills together, which means the Expedition needs to figure out a way to consciously work together not just react to a crisis. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I give Treasure & Treason an A-/B+

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