Tinker by Wen Spencer
Baen (November 2003)
Mass market: $7.99
Favorite Lines: “Tinker, we can’t know other people’s hearts. Humans fall in love at first sight, and only time tells if that love is true. There is no reason that elves can’t do the same..” (p. 257, Hardback)
Inventor, girl genius Tinker lives in a near-future Pittsburgh which now exists mostly in the land of the elves. She runs her salvage business, pays her taxes, and tries to keep the local ambient level of magic down with gadgets of her own design. When a pack of wargs chase an Elven noble into her scrap yard, life as she knows it takes a serious detour. Tinker finds herself taking on the Elven court, the NSA, the Elven Interdimensional Agency, technology smugglers and a college-minded Xenobiologist as she tries to stay focused on what’s really important – her first date. Armed with an intelligence the size of a planet, steel-toed boots, and a junkyard dog attitude, Tinker is ready to kick butt to get her first kiss.
A reader of Scooper Speaks clued me in on Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series. It’s a fantasy series with only three books, but boy is book one, Tinker, good reading material. It’s full of big words and theories, but never once did I feel bogged down. I was fascinated with the world, the characters and the plot.
Tinker is a young lady who is trying to prove how very adult she is now that she’s turned 18. She’s an intelligent business owner who has never been kissed at the moment we meet her. Over the course of the story the reader watches her mature after being placed into positions based on her own ignorance. She learns from her mistakes and owns up to them, which makes her a worthy heroine. Tinker makes mistakes, but by the end of the book she is a character that I’d be glad to have grace my “keeper” shelf.
The story progressively intensifies over time. The ramifications of ever decision becomes clear. Violence, bloody and disturbing, is used to show the primal evil of a particular group of characters. There is also a rape scene (involving a secondary character) which I’m sure will bother some readers. Yes, it bothered me and it takes a lot to get me squeamish.
Tinker is a fantasy book, but there are things in it which invite science fiction and romance lovers to pick it up. From quantum physics to finding love in unexpected places, Spencer has written a book that draws from various genres to create a world and peoples I want to know more about.
I loved Tinker. I borrowed the book from my local library because I wasn’t impressed with the cover and the blurb on the back of the book didn’t pull me in. Now, I’ll be buying it and recommending it to other people. I’m about to start book two, Wolf Who Rules, and am pleased to say book three, Elfhome, was released in July 2012.