Sunday, March 19, 2017
Magic Mourns (2009) originally published in Must Love Hellhounds
Andrea is attempting to cover for Kate while she is recovering from events in Magic Strikes. Unfortunately, the people who call Kate don’t trust anyone else, and Ted won’t give Andrea any other cases.
“Would you say the shapeshifter was in distress?”
“Hell yeah, he was in distress. His tail was on fire.”
“He ran like his tail was on fire?”
“No, his tail was on fire. Like a big, furry candle on his ass.”
I like Andrea–I like how she survived a horrible past and I like her loyalty–even if the later is greatly misplaced at times.
Nobody, not human, not shapeshifter, not even my mother had ever told me that the beast form was beautiful. Inside me, the human me put her hands on her face and cried.
But it’s also amusing (of course).
I walked into the Order’s office. A group of knights standing in the hallway turned at my approach: Mauro, the huge Samoan knight; Tobias, as usual dapper; and Gene, the seasoned former Georgia Bureau of Investigations detective. They looked at me. The conversation died.
My clothes were torn and bloody. Soot stained my skin. My hair stuck out in clumps caked with dirt and blood. The reek of a dead cat emanated from me in a foul cloud.
I walked past them into the armory, opened the glass case, took Boom Baby out, grabbed a box of Silver Hawk cartridges, and walked out.
Nobody said a thing.
Published by Berkley
For most people, turning into a 700 pound white tiger would put them at the top of the heap, but Dali–Dali is different. She is tiny, she is a vegetarian (her tiger self eats grass), her shifting comes as much from her faith as from the Lyc-V virus, so she is almost blind in human form and her tiger takes several minutes to come to her senses when she shifts, and on top of all of that she is a magic user–part of her heritage but not something often found in shape-shifters.
So to feel powerful Dali races cars. Because she’s almost blind, she wrecks–a lot–which drives both Curran and Jim crazy.
When Jim shows up at her house, she assumes its because she’s been racing and wrecked again, but instead it’s because something magically bad has happened, and she’s a magic user who might be able to help.
I really like Dali–and the trouble she gets herself into.
My mother’s eyes sparked. Oh no.
She leaned over and patted Jim’s hand. “That is so nice. My daughter is so smart. Always respectful and well-behaved. Never and trouble and she does as she is told.”
“You don’t say,” Jim murmured.
“Doesn’t spend a lot of money. Two doctor degrees. Little problem with her eyes, but that’s her father’s side of the family.
And I love Dali’s machinations to keep Jim awake after he becomes cursed by the magic.
If you deny a cat information, it will nag at him. If the cat happens to be a spymaster, it will drive him completely crazy
That’s awesome and evil.
This may be one of my favorite off-short short stories.
Published by Berkley
Magic Steals (2014) first published in Night Shifts
Although they have been dating for awhile, Dali is terrified that Jim is going to suddenly realize just how weak she is and break-up with her. That sounds weak and whiney when you put it right that, but considering Dali’s weaknesses, it’s not unreasonable.
Doesn’t mean she won’t keep trying, but she’s worried.
I pulled up to the stop sign. The passenger door opened and Jim slid into the seat next to me. I clicked the locks closed. Ha-ha! He was trapped.
When Jim shows up for a date completely exhausted, Dali lets him fall asleep. Unfortunately, when her mother shows up, Dali panics.
Neutering was the last thing he had to worry about. If she found him, she’d be overjoyed and run out of the house so we could get busy making grandchildren.
Oh gods what should I call him . . . If I introduced him as my boyfriend, it would get back to my mother.
“We work together,” Jim said.
“And we’re dating.”
Komang raised her eyebrows. “Congratulations!”
Dali’s mom has show up because her friend’s grandmother has disappeared, and they believe evil magic was involved. Because Dali’s magic is partially divine, she must help.
I particularly love the little details, like this description of the missing grandmother.
Komang sighed. “She collects My Little Pony toys.”
Iluh nodded. “You should’ve gone to the bedroom. She has shelves of those. She thinks they are pretty. She sculpts them out of modeling clay and paints them.”
That’s something I would’ve never guessed.
That’s both adorable and sweet.
One of the other valid concerns Dali has that if she and Jim remain together, she’ll end up the alpha of Clan Cat. Since she is a mostly blind vegetarian, she is terrified she would be a weakness.
“Are you done?”
“Dali, you are a tiger. You’re the largest cat on the planet and you weigh over seven hundred pounds in your beast form.”
I took a deep breath. If he were about to chew me out because I was a tiger and I couldn’t fight . . .
“Wait,” Jim said. “Let me finish.”
I cleared my throat. “Okay. Continue.”
“You have accelerated healing even by our standards.”
“You don’t have to be a good fighter for us to make a good team. If you just sit on our attacker for a second, that’s enough for me to kill them.”
I adore that Jim sees her her strengths where she sees weaknesses. And I also like that in resolving the mystery, we also see that Dali isn’t weak–she’s competent and even if she’s scared she still acts.
I don’t like this quite as well as their first short story, but it is still good, and I quite like Jim and Dali.
Published by Berkley