Jontuk is of Stonekin and one of many under the service of the Cruel barren. Jontuk has a way to help his people, through the mirror gate to another world, to find a trinket. A venture none other his kind will make. Jontuk has to trust his kind are faring well while on his mission.
Niksabella, a female tinker who's not accepted of her creations in gnomish tinkering community or any where in gnome community. Nika has created a device of never-ending power with her recursive mirror. A device that could be deadly dangerous as a weapon, if in the wrong hands, or a great help to their way of life if used properly. But with this forbidden creation, if the High Council finds she continued working on and finished it...she could be imprisoned - for life. Niksabella doesn't realize until her unknown guardian, Jancy, saves her that Nika's design has caught the attention of many, who will do anything for the tin doll or even her mind. Nika doesn't feel at home in Hightower where she's spent her life - near death experiences and meeting a man from the mountains, helps her realize it.
Niksabella's brother, Nikseltuk, is asked (more told) to accompany troops out to a mysterious murder of a simple farming family. Nikseltuk's ability to interpret the dead could help. What Nikseltuk comes across as the murderer, is not of this world. And Nikseltuk will have to choose which battle to fight - these things or return to help his sister.
Magic. Tinkering. Aerostats. Gnomes. Humans and more. Interesting world built here. A blend of fantasy magic and Industrial and steam with clockworks. The way of delivering drinks at Bombuck's tavern. COOL! They come from the air. I'd love to have a place to go to with this.
Prelude's and I don't always get along. They confuse me to what's happening in a new world which I don't know yet. This one wasn't a strong one for me. I wasn't sure of what was to happen as things of a wold I don't know are mentioned. It kinda felt out of sink with the story. And I didn't see much of Jontuk again afterward. I would have liked to have seen him more in the world we are in with Nika. Jontuk does show up briefly for us, but felt the story was nothing to do with him and all to do with Niksabella. Once past the Prelude, you are good with Nika and her brother - Nikseltuk. But in the end, I understood the Prelude and what it was setting for the world.
There are different magical Disciplines and many gnomes of this world feel they should not be blended. Me, I liked that they are blended, and every world needs rules to be followed - or broken. Nika has been looked down on as she is one who has mixed these magics, a Polymagician and maybe even a touch of sorcery added too.
The world opens to a greater one slowly with an easy read through different characters. Even though the first Wizard has warned Nika away from this project and will reprimand her for meddling in areas she should not, he wants to profit from her creation as well. A greedy man of power and money, never good. But there are others, unexpected others, that are here in this world that don't belong. And they are after something as well...
This feels like a light fantasy read. Not all of the story is about the fight, although we do have some battles Nikseltuk has to fight. Interesting battles. As you know there are different styles and draws to a story. I didn't feel part of the crowd in this world, but more someone standing back watching everything happen. I'm okay with being an observer here. Makes the story feel light and I read through it quicker.
I'm curious to see where the author goes with this gnome story to come. There is a battle waiting to happen, and a few that will have to be fought, in this world and another. A nice start to a new world and series.