Review: Strange Magic

Posted on January 12th, 2017 @ 23:14
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Strange Magic (Yancy Lazarus #1)Strange Magic by James A. Hunter

My rating: 

Blurb:

Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there’s a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he’s been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart—helping others in his circles is a good way to get dead.

Just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA. As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he’s stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he’s pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there’s also a secretive ass-hat with some mean ol’ magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body- snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.

Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic—maybe even more than just a little magic—but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he’s been set up to take a real bad fall—the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. Unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and take out said magical ass-hat before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.

Review:

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

A fun enough read in the UF genre, even though it dragged enough in places, and some things would’ve needed more development.

This book is packed with grit, action and magic suited to it, with a no-nonsense main character who wasn’t the most interesting ever, but likeable enough, in a sort of Noir way. This is the kind of character who’ll try to do the right thing, even if it means getting into dire straits, and I can seldom fault that: at least that’s a laudable motivation, and I’ve seen much, much worse in terms of not getting one’s priorities straight.

The novel reads a bit differently in terms of supernatural creatures involved: there’s magic, sure, but not the usual vampires or werewolves—the ‘monsters’ we get to see are more of the Rakshasa or extra-dimensional variety, which is a nice change.

Also, no useless romance, so bonus point as far as I’m concerned. Yancy’s family doesn’t exactly count, the ‘romance’ already happened—but there’s definitely something to unveil here in the next book(s), because why he had to leave them is not very clear.

On the downside, as previously said, the story itself dragged in some parts, causing me to skim more than read; some editing would’ve been good here, and same with the various flashbacks or inserts about this or that fact. (The latter made me think, ‘why not?’, but they tended to break the flow of action when they occurred during, well, action scenes, which is to say regularly.) This reflected on the characters in general: had they been more developed, they would’ve been more interesting to follow. Not to mention the lack of female characters, apart from a passing mention and a hostage.

The antagonist’s motives weren’t deep enough (so the guy doesn’t want to kill, but he still plans on having many people die to further his goal, but he doesn’t like and wish things were different, but he’s still going with it… Huh?), and when considering the plot as a whole, that was a seriously weak point. There were those serious stakes, pitching gangs against each other, trying to get Yancy killed while we’re at it, involving dangerous creatures, for a motive that didn’t hold much water and didn’t make a lot of sense because it was so likelyl to backfire anyway.

Still, I think this series would have potential, were it to give more room to its characters to evolve, so I’ll give the second book a try.

Enregistrer

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