Tinker - Wen Spencer I first read this book when it came out in 2003 and I loved it. Now, after I read the third book in the Tinker series – Elfhome – I decided to reread this one, the book that started Tinker’s adventures. And I loved it again, much more than the book #3.
Tinker is a charming girl, unaware of her allure but full of spunk and wit. A genius in all things mechanical, she is first and foremost a compassionate human being, prone to helping everyone who comes into her sphere. When her lover, the glorious elf Windwolf, uses magic to transform her into an elf, because he can’t think of her dying on him after a mere 70 or 80 years, he loves her too much for that, she remains a “human with fancy ears” by her own admission and acts like one.
Her every thought is triggered by humanity. No mater how sharp her ears have became, she never turns into a scheming, arrogant elven bitch, as so many elves in this tale seem to be. Is it their immortality that inspires their haughtiness and their snobbish disdain for humans, I wonder?
The interlacing of human technology and elven magic in the novel is ingenious, and Tinker’s interactions with both humans and elves of her home city of Pittsbrgh are simultaneously off-beat and funny, believable and incredible. Add to that the all-powerful EIA (Elven Interdimensional Agency), evil Oni lords, a hoverbike chase (yes, Tinker invented hoverbikes), a betrayal or two, a DNA adventure, several mythical creatures unexpectedly turned real, and Windwolf’s rival for Tinker’s affection, a human cop Nathan, and the resulting cat’s cradle of contradictory desires and goals becomes a pretty good fantasy novel.
I’d even call it an undiscovered gem, although the ending is a bit unfinished in my opinion. I’d prefer another chapter to tie up the loose ends, but of course, it’s the author’s prerogative not to do so.
Overall, a delightfully original fantasy with a dollop of Sci-fi. Highly recommended.