Cursed Moon

 MAGIC IS A DRUG. IT’LL COST MORE THAN YOU CAN PAY.

When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone’s emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon’s impact is especially strong for Kate who’s wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.

After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.

So poor Kate is in it up to her neck – secrets, lies, John Volo and Uncle Abe, not to mention the events of the first book threatening to drag her under.  Her promotion to a member of the MEA taskforce is taking its toll on her both personally and professionally.  However, she is trying so hard to make it work and to stay away from magic that my heart goes out to her at every turn.  With the Blue Moon bearing down on them, Babylon is going crazy and she seems to be just one step behind all the time.  Danny, Pen, Baba all think they know what is best for her but do they, especially when she doesn’t know what that is herself.

The task force members continue to grow on me and I especially love Drew Morales, he is so deadpan and sarcastic.  I also love that while there is flirting and heat between Kate and Morales, it’s on a very slow burn and was not a central crux for either Dirty Magic nor this book.  What is developing is trust, understanding and barriers dropping which actually seems more intimate.

Parts of the book are pretty heart-wrenching, with Kate’s best friend Pen breaking down and barriers developing between them.  There are also some very funny moments as well, which balances the book out brilliantly.

The pace is much more even in this second book, now we know how the world works and Kate’s place in it.  The action is pretty full on with the plot being tied to the arrival of the full moon and the threat that is bound up with it.

Some more interesting characters were introduced here – the most notable being Aphrodite, what a perfect creation,  I loved reading the scenes with her/him in it.  I also just realised I forgot to mention Mary and Little Man in the last review but I shall mention them now, as they continued to entertain and become a part of the story.  Again, a brilliant creation that I have come to love (even given the creepiness factor!).

I really loved the ending and the things Kate has come to realise, and I applaud Jaye Wells for her handling of the issues surrounding it.  I don’t think it will be a smooth run for Kate still but it’s a good start, if a little bitter-sweet.

A clever and gripping second book in this series and I can’t wait for the third!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jaye Wells
  • Series: Prospero's War (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Dirty Magic

 MAGIC IS A DRUG. BE 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 realises 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’d given up dirty magic for good.

I’ve been having a bit of trouble with Urban Fantasy lately in that it all seemed quite similar and nothing was really grabbing me.  I was already a fan of Jaye Wells’ Sabina Kane series, and the back blurb on Dirty Magic seemed a little different, enough to grab my attention and want to give it a go.

It did start a little slowly but it was a new version of our world to build and it was really interesting learning how potions have become part of normal, everyday life alongside conventional medicine.  I thought it was a really clever alternate commentary on how pharmaceuticals have done the same in our reality.  You have clean potions (legal) and dirty potions (illegal) and the alchemy adepts who brew or ‘cook’ them.  Covens instead of drug cartels, but it all results in addicts needing another fix and another dirty potion hitting the streets for those who are looking for the next big thing.  Addicts of clean potions like vanities, youth, weight loss or pain also hits home.

Kate Prospero is an excellent heroine – a former adept with a talent for making magic potions turned cop with a young brother to raise.  I understood her issues and felt for her for trying to make something good out of a life that dealt her a bad hand.  She isn’t a hugely powerful magic user, nor a clairvoyant, vampire etc.  In fact she goes out of her way not to use magic (sometimes a little too far) but for very good reasons (you have to read the book to find out what those are!).  She became a cop in order to balance the scales for what she had to do as a kid and that is where the brilliance of Dirty Magic comes in.  It’s a police procedural as much as an urban fantasy and it works very very well.  Wells’ research was meticulous and having read a lot of crime and thrillers, this was spot on for me.  Obviously the fantastical elements were included and I loved them!

I also thought I could see where the book was going to go when we were introduced very early to Kate’s ex, John Volos – fabulously rich, bad guy turned philanthropist (and I admit I rolled my eyes when I made that cynical snap judgment).  Full credit to Jaye Wells for completely surprising me in that regard!  The team of MEA agents were brilliant too and did much to flesh out the feel of this book – Mesmer and Morales in particular were my favourites but also Gardner for her sarcasm and no nonsense attitude.

I really liked the plot – seemed pretty simple at first but there were several layers to the story and it kept things interesting right to the end. So in spite of the slow start, everything else worked wonderfully and it was a really good book.

If like me, you have become a bit Urban Fantasy jaded – take it from me, this is something different that will really grab you!

Book Information
  • Author: Jaye Wells
  • Series: Prospero's War (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Coming Soon!

With my back issues slowing me down, I’ve gotten behind in reviews, so here are a few things to look forward to now I am back in action (no pun intended unless you found it funny in which case it was completely intentional!).

Reviews in process :

Red-Headed Stepchild – Jaye Wells
Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires book 3) – Rachel Caine

Waiting to be read and reviewed :

A Princess of Landover – Terry Brooks
Heat Stroke (Weather Warden book 2) – Rachel Caine
Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires book 4) – Rachel Caine
Dark Curse (Carpathian) – Christine Feehan
Blood Noir (Anita Blake 15) – Laurell K. Hamilton
Born of Night (The League book 1) – Sherrilyn Kenyon
206 Bones – Kathy Reichs
Covet – J.R. Ward

And now to lose myself in fantastical worlds, more soon 🙂