Book #90: Shadows and Gold by Elizabeth Hunter

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The first novella in the Elemental Legacy series:

SHADOWS AND GOLD

Failing grades. Misleading wind vampires. And a fortune in forgotten gold.
Traveling to the most remote region of China certainly wasn’t what Ben Vecchio had in mind for his summer vacation, but when Tenzin suggested a quick trip, he could hardly turn down a chance to keep her out of trouble and practice the Mandarin he still struggled with in class.

Of course, Tenzin might not have been clear about everything travel entailed.

Driving a truck full of rotting vegetables and twenty million in gold from Kashgar to Shanghai was only the start. If Ben can keep the treasure away from grasping immortals, the reward will be more than worth the effort. But when has travel with a five-thousand-year-old wind vampire ever been simple?

“What’s on the agenda for tonight?”
“I thought we’d go into Shanghai. Eat some fish. See the lights.”
“Okay.”
“Then maybe lure a traitor into the open before he steals my gold.”
Ben paused, thought, then gave her a nod. “Sure, sounds like fun.”

At least he was practicing his Chinese.

Right?

SHADOWS AND GOLD is a prequel novella in the Elemental Legacy series.

If you’ve read Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries, you would know who the main characters are in this new series. If you don’t know, the main characters are Ben and Tenzin. Ben is the adopted fake nephew to two vampires. In the Elemental Mysteries, he was a teenager, snarky and loveable. Tenzin happens to be a very ancient vampire despite the fact that she looks like a teenager. There are moments of complete innocence, deep thought, and a disturbing comical quality to her when it comes to mayhem and murder.

I love Tenzin. Love her. She is my favorite in the first series and despite her being a supporting character in that series, she truly said “give me my own books” to me. I’m glad she was loud to Elizabeth Hunter about that.

I also happen to love Ben. He and Tenzin feed off each other beautifully. In the novella, they aren’t quite sure what their relationship is. Tenzin seems to have adopted him as her human, but what that exactly means I don’t really know. For other vampires that could mean a number of things. For Tenzin? It’s just one huge question mark.

Ben’s confusion about their relationship is much easier to understand. He clearly has an attraction to her and wants something that may lean on the physical. However, he doesn’t want the life that comes with being immortal. He’s happy being a human fighting off the bloodsuckers.

The story is pretty cut and dry . . . go to China, get some buried treasure, and go home. Obviously, it isn’t that easy. Nothing ever is when Tenzin is concerned. That said, the story has a decent amount of action, a new viewpoint to vampire politics, and has a great comedic ending that had me laughing.

Elizabeth Hunter has said that this novella and the other two following it will give readers an idea what the Elemental Legacy series will be.  That means this series will be more like a paranormal Indiana Jones/Urban Fantasy. I’m beyond excited to see this series. I’m on the Benzin ship and am ready to sail.

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