Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Diamond City Magic #1
Trade paperback, 303 pages
Publication: September 30, 2014 by Bell Bridge Books
Source: Personal Library
Even the most powerful tracers can’t track you if the magical trace you leave behind is too old. But I can track almost anything, even dead trace. That makes me a unicorn, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Lock Ness Monster all rolled into one. In a word, I am unique. A very special snowflake. And if anyone ever finds out, I’ll be dead or a slave to one of the Tyet criminal factions.I’ve been looking forward to reading Trace of Magic ever since it was published last year but haven’t gotten around to it till now. I’ve read Francis’s Horngate Witches series and loved it. The last book in the Horngate Witches series wasn’t as good compared to the first 3 books but overall it’s still one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series I’ve ever read. When I heard Francis was going to start a new series I was ecstatic! The cover and synopsis looked and sounded really promising.
Riley Hollis has quietly traced kidnapped children and quietly tipped the cops to their whereabouts one too many times. Now she’s on the radar of Detective Clay Price, a cop in the pocket of a powerful magic Tyet faction. When he blackmails her into doing a dangerous trace for him, Riley will have to break every rule that keeps her safe. Or become a Tyet pawn in a deadly, magical war.
It pains me to say this but Trace of Magic was disappointing. It didn’t live up to my expectations and I had high expectations coming from her previous novels. Trace of Magic is labeled as an Urban Fantasy but it’s really a Paranormal Romance. The plot, world building and characterization took a backseat and the romance aspect was full on blast. I’ll talk about the characters and romance in a second. The world building was a bit confusing, there are 5 gangster-type guys ruling Diamond City and there are certain people with special abilities but readers don’t really learn much of either. The information and details of the world is almost nonexistent. Our main heroine Riley is a tracer. She has the ability to locate anyone, anywhere and see whether or not they’re dead or alive because every individual leaves a distinct color track/thread in their wake. Riley’s ability is very interesting, and the first book seems to only scratch the surface of it. But instead of actually learning about Riley herself, readers are thrust into an investigation looking for Riley’s sister’s ex-fiancée and a mysterious rich woman connected to Tourey, a Tyet gangster.
I did not like Riley. Riley rubbed me the wrong way right from the beginning. She’s snarky but not in the funny way. She’s cocky and annoying as hell. But it got worst once she teamed up with Detective Clay Price. For the entire book she was getting all hot and bothered by Price and would internally reprimand herself for lusting after him because he’s supposed to be the enemy. Yet, the moment they weren’t being chased and shot at…they had time to have sex (right after waking up from being shot at). Riley also had a problem assuming things left and right and she would talk about hypothetical situations where Price would betray her...but he never does. It drove me nuts! I wished I could reach inside the book and shake her for her idiocy! And the biggest annoyance of all…Riley and Price thought they were in ‘LOVE’ with each other after only 48 hours! Are you kidding me?! That’s worst than reading insta-love in YA. I also never warmed up to Price. Price was described as an asshole from the beginning, which wouldn’t be a problem if he had any redeeming qualities. I seriously can't think of any. But now that I think about, yeah, he was an ass for most of the book. Riley and Price are probably the least likable couple/leads I’ve read to date. I really despise them.
I’m still in disbelief that this is by the same author as my beloved Horngate Witches series. I mean, The Horngate Witches series feels like a seasoned author wrote it, while Trace of Magic felt like it was written by a newbie. The plot is weak, the world building lackluster and the characters flat and unlikable. If you haven’t read Francis’s books yet, I’d suggest skipping this book and checking out her Horngate Witches series…it’s much better.