Dirty Magic (2014)
I desperately needed something distracting, so picked up Dirty Magic, read a couple chapters, wasn’t sure it was what I was in the mood for, but the next day picked it back up, and discovered it served admirably as a distraction.
Kate Prospero spent her youth cooking dirty magic. She quit cold turkey, and went on to become a cop, but being an Adept–as well as her past in the Covens–hovers over her, and has probably kept her from promotions. But still, she wants to get dirty magic off the streets, and is willing to be a beat cop if that’s what it takes.
I really liked Kate.
“Ah c’mon. I didn’t do nothin’.”
I raised a brow. “You flashed a weapon at an officer.”
“Ah man! I didn’t know you was a cop. Thought you was just an uppity bitch.”
“As it happens, I’m both. Do not move.”
I like how she took care of her brother, how she kept walking the beat even if it wasn’t getting her anywhere, and I like how she had to struggle with all the things that were important to her.
I also liked the mystery and the complicated characters.
But that is not to say that it was perfect. I really really didn’t understand the difference between “dirty magic” and “clean magic.” The stakes were really really high for what seemed to be rather subtle differences.
This became an issue towards the end of the book, when the use of magic becomes a blackmail tool. I also really didn’t see why the creation of anti-potions was illegal. Especially when potions created by “clean magic” were routinely used by law enforcement.
A last note–this is a great cover. She’s not dressed in a ridiculous outfit. She’s not turned to show her boobs and/or butt. Her head isn’t cut off. Instead, she’s standing looking powerful and active.
Absolutely marvelous cover.
Published by Orbit
Cursed Moon (2014)
She is also struggling with her guilt over the events in the previous book, and her worry about her brother, who keeps showing an interest in magic.
I started this book awhile, but wasn’t in the mood for it, so left it till later, which worked out quite well.
I still like Kate, even if I have concerns about the numbers of lies she is keeping from so many different people. (Which is why I particularly liked the end of the book.) And I also like the group she works with at the MEA, especially Mez and Morales.
“What do you know about him?”
I shot Morales a rueful glance. “How do you know it’s not a girl?”
“Please, all the best monsters are dudes: Mothra, Godzilla, King Kong.”
There is a great conversation between them after a particularly mortifying event that made me giggle, and I also liked how although that bit of smart ass eased the tension, it didn’t make everything better.
It’s a fun series, and although I wouldn’t recommend jumping in here, if you’re looking for a magic police procedural, you might look into this series.
Published by Orbit
Deadly Spells (2015)
This is (possibly) the conclusion to the Prospero’s War series. There are other places the story could go from here, but the major story arc–with Kate coming to terms with her past and how she is going to let it affect and influence her present–is concluded.
The MEA is called in for an ugly murder in the cauldron, and not only does Kate know who the victim is, but the officer in charge of the scene is playing political games with jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, at home Kate has to deal with a teenager who, although she is letting him learn clean magic, is still a teenager.
One of the things I especially like is that Kate takes her guardianship of Danny very seriously, even having Baba move in with her so there is someone at home when she has to work late.
“All my cases are important, but not as important as Danny.”
And she doesn’t just say that, her actions reflect that, which makes things difficult at her job, but is also precisely what single parents have to do. I thought it was a realistic touch that one doesn’t often see in fantasy (or even mysteries).
I also found Kate’s date especially interesting.
“I just meant it’s extremely attractive when a woman can take care of herself.”
Harsh words sprang to my lips at the implied insult in his comment. Every woman I knew took care of herself just fine.
We also had mention of an item from an earlier book, “a truth serum that caused severe pain if we lied.” That seems like how a truth serum would actually work, rather than the fancy forcing the truth kind of things, and almost seems like something doable, assuming there are biochemical reactions when a person lies.
It wasn’t clear if this was the conclusion to the series, but it certainly ended in a good place and a lot of resolution. If there are other books, I hope they’re more like murder mysteries, where there’s something new to investigate each book, which is a favorite form of mine anyway.
Published by Orbit