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Review: Splinter by Sarah Fine

by Sarah Fine
Series: Reliquary #2
Genres: UF/PNR
Publisher: 47 North
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Source: ARC received for review
Rating: ★★
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Mattie Carver has relinquished the world of magic, with all its dark temptations. In six weeks, she’ll marry Ben Ward and claim the safe, small-town life she craves. But Mattie’s talents as a reliquary—someone able to smuggle magic within her body—make her a valuable commodity, even to those she trusts the most. Forced out of retirement by a painful betrayal, she must seek the help of the man she’s tried desperately to stay away from: Ben’s estranged brother, Asa.

Asa, a sensor and magic dealer, may have saved Ben months ago, but he’s complicated Mattie’s life beyond imagining. Trailed by lethal mobsters through Chicago’s seamy magical underbelly and an eerie traveling carnival, Mattie struggles to endure the priceless magic she’s holding and her feelings for Asa. Once, she thought she’d chosen her path. Now the only option may be to succumb to the destiny that’s choosing her, and hope she’s strong enough to survive.

Having enjoyed Sarah Fine's Reliquary, I was excited about reading Splinter. One thing I always love about Sarah's series is that she always takes her sequel to a whole new level and Splinter proved exactly that. This trilogy is shaping up to be one heck of an entertaining series, and after finishing Splinter, I was more than ready to have the last book, Mosaic in my hands.

At the start of Splinter, Mattie is in a really dark place. She's suffering in more ways than just emotionally and being inside her head wasn't easy as she went through this tough time. Even in her moments of vulnerability though, Mattie possessed an inner strength to her that made her endearing and admirable. She grows tremendously throughout Splinter even with all the things looming over her. I liked Mattie a lot in the previous book, but here, she was even more loveable as she grew fully into her real strong, determined and brave self. I really connected with her character as she slowly came to the realization throughout the book that maybe her hopes, dreams and aspirations wouldn't make her happy in the long run. Asa, as always, was a shining star. This guy is still all broody, intense and sexy. He tries so hard to keep him emotions at bay but he is slowly learning to open up to the people that matter. His bond with his pit bull, Gracie, just makes me melt. I especially love how he makes Mattie stronger by showing her repeatedly that she isn't weak.

Ben, Mattie's fiance, is a big part of Splinter. It was interesting to see him play a bigger role in this installment, especially because we get to see him and Asa side by side. This guy just confuses me. There were times when I genuinely liked him and I could see what Mattie saw in him. But more often than not, he made my blood boil with how senseless and irresponsible he could be. He thinks he's doing Mattie a favor, but he constantly put her in the face of danger and I didn't find that to be very appealing. Some of you will be happy to know that at the end of Splinter, Mattie finally makes a choice, so the triangle is well and truly gone. While romance isn't the focus of this series, we do see Mattie and Asa progress emotionally as a couple and there's one scene in particular that hit me right in the heart. I have no doubt that these two make a great team and are good for each other, but I also realize that Mattie has a lot of healing to do on her own.

Sarah Fine always knows how to write a tight, action-packed story with lots of world building development. I loved how entertaining Reliquary was, and here I found the story line to be even more enjoyable. I was almost breathless after all that action and all those twists. Mattie's abilities as a reliquary as well as her grandfather's history were at the limelight here and I loved that we got to learn so much more about this magical system that I find absolutely fresh and fascinating. The bad guys are as multi-dimensional as the main characters are, which make them villains that you hate to love. There's an engaging quality to Sarah Fine's writing that makes it incredibly hard to put down her books. All you want to do is get lost in her words forever.

With every book that she releases, Sarah Fine shows just how comfortable she is with the written word. If you're in the mood for a unique, sexy and well-crafted UF/PNR series, then the Reliquary series is for you!

Have you read anything by Sarah Fine? Interested in this series?
Let me know in the comments below!