January 26, 2014

Book Review: Dirty Magic

Dirty Magic
Prospero's War, Book 1
Jaye Wells

Released: Jan 2014

Orbit, paperback, 381 p
ISBN: 978-0-316-22843-5

Magic is a drug.
Careful how you use it...

The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets.

But there's a new blend out there that's as deadly as it is elusive.

When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she's brought in to explain herself.  But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.

Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier - on the same day she swore she's give up dirty magic for good.  Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.

This is at the grittier end of the UF genre.  There is no real romance, and the murder/mystery is more a police procedural than cosy mystery.  While I found the storyline to be an engaging prospect, I had more than a few problems loosing myself in this world.  Most importantly, I didn't really feel all that sympathetic with the main character, Kate Prospero - perhaps that was just my mood when I read it - but I just didn't click with her.  I found her brother, Danny, just got on my nerves no end as the perpetually brooding teenage stereotype, but then so did most of the secondary characters.  Kate's ex, the now very wealthy and influential John Volos, really peeved me off.  I know that she dumped him all those years ago, but when they interact, he seems to be projecting the whole 'hey, you dumped me...why?' vibe, but there is also a underlying aura of vindictiveness that creeps in from time to time that really put me off.  Especially when he reveals his expectations of Kate at the end of Dirty Magic.  He is quite the user, and doesn't see anything wrong with that.  If he is meant to be Kate's future romantic interest, than God help us because at the moment he is about as attractive as a slug trail.

I'm not sure whether I'll buy book 2, Cursed Moon, but perhaps if I read this book again in a few weeks I might see it in a better light.  I'm only giving it 3 stars because the world building was very well done, and the grungy urban setting was perfect for Kate's struggles.  Perhaps if the characters were fleshed out a bit more, and given distinct and unique personalities - they seem to fit in the same mold: grumpy, snarky, smart-arses - then perhaps I would enjoy the series more.

If you like Lilith Saintcrow's style, then this should be right up your alley.

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