The first book in the Dirk & Steele series by Marjorie M. Liu is a wonderful book. Delilah Reese is a special woman with special psychic abilities who is on vacation in Beijing. During a shopping expedition to the local Dirt Market she is sold a riddle box by a persistant old woman. Once back to her hotel room she works to open the box. To her surprise out pops Hari.
To some this might seem like a cheesy attempt at a twisted genie in a bottle story but it truly isn't. Hari has been cursed to the box for over 2000 years having to do the bidding of whomever owns the box. His life is nothing but that of a slave to do whatever tasks he is commanded to do. He has been a killer for kings and a concubine for women over the millennia never doing what he would like but only things that his masters want.
Dela and Hari find that breaking his curse isn't the only thing going on. Dela's life is also in jeopardy. On the day that Hari is released from the box Dela is attacked twice. By two different parties even. Hari means to use all his years as a trained warrior to keep her safe.
I found this book very enjoyable enough to forgo sleep in order to read every word. The book takes place in only a matter of days but somehow Liu manages to weave her tale of romance into an extremely believable story. Well, if you believe in shapeshifters and wizards that is.
I normally take issue with books that have a relationship bloom so quickly. The thought of "love at first sight" makes me roll my eyes and want to throw the book against a wall. Dela and Hari do fall in love and happen to do it within a very short time period and somehow Ms. Liu made me a believer of their love.
I give this book a 4.5 Star rating.