This is very possibly my favorite book. Set in some magical world, it is 150 years after the ultimate battle of good versus evil, and good has triumphed. It starts off by following a thief, Arcie, and an assassin, Samalander, known as Sam. They are the last of their kind; the rest of the thieves and assassins have been whitewashed, forced to be good, law-abiding citizens, by the elven arch-mage Mizzamir. They become bored of life as it is and end up running away from their town, and they meet a druid named Kaylana. She informs them that the influx of light in the world is definitely what one could consider too much of a good thing, and if the light is not stopped soon, the world will sublimate in its own glory. Not a very happy image for the group of villains. So they set off on a quest to bring evil back into the world. They soon encounter a Nathuan, a cannibalistic evil sorceress from the Underrealm, named Valeriana, and her familiar, a raven named Nightshade. She is my favorite character in the book (Sam is a close second, and would be amazing, but he falls in love and spends too much time looking at Kaylana's hair). It seems as though Eve Forward had a lot of fun with her; Valeriana amuses herself by blasting things apart with her magic, or threatening to eat people. Not long after, they meet a dark night in some kind of magical armor who doesn't talk, whom they call Blackmail, and a spy centaur named Robin pretending to be a minstrel. They are, as far as they can tell, the last bits of evil in the world. What made the book a lot of fun, at least for me, was that a lot happened without spending too much time on the in-betweens. They got to one point in their journey, then they got to the next, and the book did not spend endless pages describing how they were running out of food and other such woes. I also really liked the characters, with the exception of Sam's flaw (other than that, however, he is a great character) and Kaylana. Kaylana seemed too good to fit in with the other villains, and her powers were a little bit too much, as she seemed to be able to resist everything, even the ancient magic of the gods. Blackmail, too, seemed a little bit too good. He, however, is given a reasonable excuse at the end of the book, and he is a much more fun character than Kaylana. Robin is great fun, as he provided someone for Valeriana to continuously taunt and threaten to eat. She almost had too much fun than any evil being should have by terrorizing Robin. Arcie is lots of fun, and seems to always have a smile or a joke ready, even when he is robbing someone blind. And he is always robbing someone; he does it for fun and to bother his companions.
Overall, the book was a lot of fun to read. The villains' perspective on the world was a refreshing break from the usual fantasy of "oh, now I have to save the poor people, and I can't do anything mean." Half the time, the characters are trying to force each other to do things that they themselves would rather not do, and when they come across some unwanted company, they just kill them. And, well, they could save a few people or have an adventure just for the sake of adventure, but, after all, that's what heroes do, and they are definitely not heroes. Nope, just a bunch of villains out of their safety zone for selfish reasons (mostly because their safety zone doesn't exist any more because the whole world is good). They spend their time running from the law and all those nice people chasing after them. The characters and plot were well made, it was very enjoyable, and the whole book was very well done. I could go on, but I think this post is ready to be done.
So, I give this book a 5. If you like food, it's like mashed potatoes - delicious, a great texture, enjoyable, and when you're done, you want seconds. Or thirds. Or, well, perhaps a 10th helping. Yum.