I think that the ability to create a world that is filled with magic and unknown places is perhaps too great a task to do in one book. There is a degree of detail that we, as readers, have come to expect due to the growing trend of long multi-volume series.
In The Hob’s Bargain, Patricia Briggs does a good job of telling a story within the constraints of a single volume. The heroine is interesting and relatively likeable, but not terribly believable. That’s probably because there simply isn’t enough space in a single short volume to do much in the way of character development.
The setting is a small village that goes through several disasters in a short time. The heroine loses her new husband and her family and is plagued by an onset of magical power in a community that equates magic with evil. Add to this mix the return of mythical magical creatures and you have a pretty good idea of what’s going on.
Patricia Briggs is a great author whose work in other series I have really enjoyed. The Hob’s Bargain is not her best novel, but it works well if you need a good quick read.