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The Book of Gems, by Fran Wilde

Review copy provided by the author, who is a personal friend.

This is that rare but lovely thing: a book that does equally well as an entry point to a series as it does for readers who’ve already read the others–in this case, as one might expect from the title, the Gemworld series.

Dev is a young scientist whose study of gems, their past, and their properties is her great passion. Unfortunately the man who was supposed to be her mentor has stolen her work and left her to the part of their work that is drudgery without credit. He’s gone off to the valley, where Dev’s family is from (though she is careful about who she tells that information)–the home of the gems that present such fascination to scholars.

And now he’s disappeared, and Dev has to go after him if the work is to be completed. She has a plan that will allow her to speak at the Symposium–which should make her academic career–if only she isn’t caught for going into the valley completely without permission. As long as her limited funds can get her where she needs to be. Provided that her long-lost family is welcoming or at the very least indifferent. And then, of course, there are the dangers of the gems themselves. She’s swamped. And the mysterious messages she starts receiving certainly don’t help….

This is a perfectly sensible place to start reading this series or continue it, a pageturner that I read in one sitting. Recommended.

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