To save her village from ruthless raiders, Aren of Fallbrook strikes a bargain with the Hob, a magical, humanlike creature imbued with the power of the mountains. But the Hob will exact a heavy price to defend the village--a price Aren herself must pay.
This is a stand alone world, and it's very very light fantasy.
Aren has the sight but that doesn't help her when her family is slaughtered by raiders. At the same time the magic that binds that earth snaps, and releases all sorts of beings, nasty hobgoblins, spirits, and a hob. The world is not as it used to be and now her village is plagued by weird beings and raiders. Aren decides to take destiny in her own hands and strikes a deal with the hob living on the mountain. But some bargains are really high to pay.
As I said, very light fantasy, the kind of fantasy that is in between high fantasy and romance fantasy. It's really short too, and easy to read. Aren, the heroine is 30, and have been married for one day. Her brother had magic, and was killed because of it so no one wanted to marry her. Magic here belongs to the bloodmages, and you either join them or die. And the priests tell people that people with magic are evil, so not a good world to have magic in.
I liked the concept that all the "magical" creatures were gone because of a spell by the magicians but now they are back, and people have forgotten how to ward themselves against them. Superstitions have died out. Aren is therefore really careful with her sight, and she is a good heroine, first she is happy just standing behind everyone else, but she grows and becomes so much more than the rest of the women in the village.
Then there is the hob and his price, he is a funny being, very kind and he does grow on you. It's an interesting cast of magic haters, raiders, and the ones that are willing to fight, like Kith, oh I liked him.
Recommendation and final thoughts:
I guess this one could be a good introduction to fantasy. It's light, it still has a lot of action, and loss. There is magic, and a tiny bit of romance. This book could lead to more. I liked it, it's not my normal kind of fantasy but I do like Briggs and she is a good author. Sometimes easy and light is good.
Cover: I do like it, but the horse...I know she has a horse, but does he have to be on the cover..