February 2010, Headline
344 pages, Paperback
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥+
Summary from Headline
Law student Lex Trent’s world is inhabited by fearsome magicians, ageing crones and a menagerie of Gods and Goddesses. And while Lex is seemingly dedicated to his legal studies he’s always enjoyed a challenge – which is why he leads a double life as the notorious cat burglar ‘The Shadowman’ who has been (luckily) evading capture for years. But Lex’s luck is about to run out because the Goddess of Fortune has selected him to be her player in the highly dangerous Games. Losing is not an option for Lex (particularly as it so often involves dying) but can he really win each of the perilous rounds? Given that the reward for doing so is money, fame and glory – all things that Lex is quite keen on – he’s going to do whatever it takes to make sure he will... and he’s certainly got good experience of cheating.
I can honestly say I've never met a character like Lex. Even when it is blindingly obvious that he is the culprit, he makes the effort to mislead people. Although what Lex does is wrong, he isn't what I would term an evil person. He doesn't kill people. I don't think he hurts people physically on purpose, at least not some of the time. He hurts quite a lot of people emotionally, something he doesn't get his head around until nearer the end of the book. Sure, he isn't a character of good morals who can be a role model to the world, but that is what makes him appealing as a hero. Lex enjoys being on the run. There's a lot of him I can't relate to, yet I still find him fascinating.
Enchanted boats are cool, no bobbing up and down for the enchanters, or thieves who steal the enchanted boat. I feel I would actually like sailing if I could travel on one of these. .I like how ancient mythical creatures are involved in the game - medusa and minotaur.
Also in the book: strong crones, rabid rabbit, giant bats (the animal variety), flying hippos, ferret, rhinos, fake magic sticks, fairy godmothers, griffins.
It's at the end when Lex is faced with an awful situation that the full truth about his grandfather comes out and I felt so sorry for Lex. I understood why he acted how he did. It wasn't necessarily the best course of action, but he couldn't help how he felt. I needed a tissue. You really can completely read someone wrong. Lex hid his pain under the guuse of arrogance and confidence.
Schmidt was hiding two secrets that makes me want to reread the book straight away. One had me staring at the book for several seconds thinking 'wow'. I didn't see that one coming.
For an entertaining read that touches on serious issues, check out Tamsyn Murray's My So-Called Afterlife.