THE SERPENT by Sarah Fine
In this new Urban Fantasy series from Sarah Fine, Ernestine “Ernie” Terwilliger gets thrown abruptly into a paranormal world when a strange man with a snake tattoo and odd deck of cards threatens her eccentric, emotionally fragile mother whom has Ernie has taken care of for years. Ernie grabs some of the peculiar cards in a confrontation and falls down the rabbit hole to a realm of Immortal Dealers whose powers can change the world. She tangles with the most sinister and malevolent of the Dealers needing the aide of another one, Gabe Carrig. He is a handsome Irishmen who seems to be the most honest and caring of this strange collection of people. Ernie has to learn on the job how to handle the cards she has while trying to get the rest of the deck and, most importantly, the avatar who guides them. Other Dealers who want to bring down the one known as Diamondback have their own issues and difficulty working as a cohesive team.
Ms. Fine has fashioned an interesting world where the fate of the mankind may rest on a young woman’s ability to learn magic skills while under much duress. This story is quite fast paced as Ernie is thrown into the fire constantly scrambling to barely keep ahead of the Diamondback Dealer, who will stop at nothing and use anyone to get his cards back. Much of her family history is revealed that unknown to Ernie previously, connects to this strange and confusing world. There is a hint of potential romance, but this being UF, that takes a back seat. Many possible scenarios are set in motion as some major issues are yet to be resolved.
Life as an Immortal Dealer for Ernie is filled with infinite possibilities as well as dangerous escapades. This story is a creative and a fresh take on a magical world. It will appeal to readers who like a lot of action, adventure, and a fast-paced tale that keeps the tension high.