Hand of the Trickster, by Mike Reeves-McMillan
The protagonist, Now You Don’t, is a rogue dedicated to his god, the Trickster. He has magical powers that are limited in nature, but oh-so handy! Teaming up with a few other vagabonds, he leads heists against the temples of other gods. Wry wit and humour abound, the action is satisfying, pacing quick, and magic interesting in how limited it (usually) is. Although Scorpion breaks that feeling … but he’s interesting as a character because, although he’s a barbarian, he’s thoughtful and kind. In fact I liked all the characters in this story, and that’s a rare thing. Given that this is novella-length, it’s impressive how Reeves-McMillan got me to care about each of the members in the crew.
The plot is well put together with subtle pieces being put together along the way. It felt like reading a role playing game at points, like when one person in the group would see something, I’d think, “She passed her spot check.” If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I enjoy this sort of thing.
The gods and how they are described give a bit of a Greek feeling to the story. They’re paired and used to influence the world a great deal, although they lost some power somewhere in the past. It gives me a taste of what I’m doing to my own readers, eluding to an old war between the gods, but not going into great detail. I plan on writing about The Gods’ War one day. I wonder if Reeves-McMillan plans to do the same?
This is a rich world, and I look forward to reading more about it and the characters who dwell there!
Bonus: There are two short stories attached to the end, both of which were entertaining to read. I found Reeves-McMillan’s writing style to be easy to read and engaging across all three stories, so I have a feeling I’ll be working my way through the rest of his collection. I just hope I can keep the different worlds separate in my mind!