Monday, January 20, 2014

Early review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

Title: Dirty Magic
Author: Jaye Wells
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Speculative Fiction
Series: Prospero's War #1

Trade paperback, 400 pages
Publication: January 21, 2014 by Orbit

Source: I received a review copy from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.

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The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn't expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she's convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she's been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she'd never use dirty magic again.

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 be never say never.

 Kate Prospero is a bad-ass. I heart her. She is exactly the type of heroine I love reading about; she’s strong, smart, driven, flawed, and family oriented. Everything I look for in a protagonist. Kate is an adept (someone born with magic), and comes from the most notorious coven in the Cauldron, the Votary clan. Kate has a knack for cooking dirty potions and was the next heir for Grand Wizard after her Uncle Abe (Wizard crime lord) but after a tragic accident; Kate left the coven and everything magic related behind her for the straight and narrow…and became a patrol office for Babylon PD. It’s been 10 years since she turn her back on the people she grew up with but so far things been okay; it’s been a clean and magic-free life, (minus capturing potion junkies and dealers) exactly what she wanted for her younger brother Danny. But after a routine patrol goes wrong, Kate finds her past and present colliding and the only way to fix things is to embrace her heritage. 

Dirty Magic hooked me from the first page as readers’ plunge head first in the midst of the action as BPD officer Kate pursues a potion junkie in the Cauldron (covens’ turf). I didn’t really know what to expect when I first started Dirty Magic, just that it was a new UF series by Wells and anything she wrote, I’d read. I wasn’t prepared to be enthralled as I was; the world-building is incredible and so realistic you can imagine yourself smack dab in a city ruled and run on clean-dirty magic. There are two types of magic (clean and dirty), basically legal and illegal but both with different consequences; eventually making the user dependent or changing them on a physical level. The magic system in Dirty Magic is pretty complex, and this first book barely touches the surface…getting a glimpse at what the Votary (specializes in alchemy) and Sang (specializes in blood) covens all about. I really love the police procedure-magic combination; it made for an entertaining read.  I can definitely see this series as a TV show (if no one picks up the rights for this soon, they’re nuts).

After reading Wells’ Sabina Kane series (I’m still behind, forgive me!); I’ve come to expect three things from Wells, a kick-ass heroine, a colorful cast of characters and smart dialouge. And I’m glad to say Wells doesn’t disappoint. Kate isn’t only a kick-ass heroine but she’s also a guardian/single parent to her 16-year-old brother Danny. I liked Kate early on, but when I found out she was taking care of her young brother, I loved her even more. There’s just something extra special when I read a UF protagonist with family. I’m a sucker for anything family lol. It adds another layer to the character, and Kate was already plenty interesting with her crime loving wizard family. In terms of secondary characters, Kate’s MEA (Magic Enforcement Agency) team was a diverse group of people (both adept and mundane). They’re kind of exactly how I’d picture a tactical team…funny and tough as nails. The two people that made the biggest impression for me is Picasso (even though it was for a short time) and Little Man. They were a hoot!  Dirty Magic is a pretty dark book, I mean we are dealing with junkies and crime lords but they added a humorous balance during their page time. And to be honest, Little Man creep me out (the devil baby prank image kept popping in my head) but I couldn’t help smiling every time he and Kate interacted.  If that last sentence sounds confusing…you just got to read the book to know what I mean. 

I’m not a fan of love triangles, and even though there really isn’t one in Dirty Magic…there’s a potential for one. Or, at least it feels like one. There are two main guys in Kate’s life, an old flame and a new guy. Kate definitely has chemistry with both guys, whether she cares to admit it…and I am interested in seeing where it goes. I’m conflicted who I’m rooting for as both guys have different appealing qualities….somewhat (one came off as a jerk but by the middle of the book we get the reason why)…just going to have to see how things play out. 

Dirty Magic is a great start to what I believe will be an outstanding series. I loved every moment of this book. Dirty Magic is a wonderful addition to the urban fantasy genre, giving readers a fresh take and unique spin on magic and wizards. If you’re looking for your next urban fantasy/speculative fiction fix, look no further. Dirty Magic has it all! This is the best book I’ve read so far, and Kate Prospero is a character that everyone will love; slowly climbing to the top of the favorite list with the likes of Kate Daniels, Gin Blanco, Arcadia Bell, Charlie Madigan to name a few. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Cursed Moon which comes out August of this year!!

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