This True Grit-style tale is narrated by the excellent heroine Jaines Cord. Jaines is a pitch-perfect lead character; her voice brings the fantasy/revenge tale to life and fills it with urgency. The narration also serves to elucidate the complex land's magical creatures and social rules, using details that would ordinarily weigh down a novel's readability. Lucky for readers, Shona Husk has crafted an extraordinary tale. The mysteries and reveals are totally unexpected, well timed and serve to further the story. No gratuitous shocks or storylines here! Husk takes her time with the romance, ensuring that the relationship between Jaines and Obsidian is never forced. A western with a magical bent, Dark Vow's aim is true.

Jaines Cord serves as her husband's apprentice gunsmith, and he's warned her never to serve a member of the magical Arcane Union — especially not a Bounty Hunter. But when a Bounty Hunter instructs her to service his weapon, Jaines complies. Afterwards, the weapon is turned on her husband and Jaines swears revenge for his murder. Setting out to track and kill the Bounty Hunter, she enlists the help of Obsidian, a rogue member of the Arcane Union. As the two hunt her husband's murderer, it becomes clear that the deceased had dark secrets of his own. Betrayed and confused, Jaines finds comfort in her gruff and magical traveling companion ... but Obsidian has a hidden past as well — one that threatens their journey and their future. (CARINA PRESS, November 2011, dl., $4.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Maria Planansky