Dirty Magic is the first book in a new urban fantasy series by Jaye Wells. Kate Prospero is a police officer who is a reformed mage (she cooked spells). When she is forced to kill a suspect she was chasing, she learns about a new threat to the city and is forced to work with people, and the magic, she has pushed away for years.
Will I read the second book in this series? Probably. Dirty Magic is saved by the fact that it is easy to relate to Kate and her struggles. She seems like someone you would know who can’t quite get their life figured out. Because of that, I want to learn more of her story and see how she grows as a person.
I also had a lot of problems with DM. First, one of Kate’s informants is a homunculus conjoined twin. It felt contrived to incorporate something so strange into the story. (Kind of like the 3-breasted woman in Total Recall – it’s there just to get attention.) Also, the genetic marker for someone who can do magic is the fact that they are left-handed. This was never really explained and seemed like the easy way out for a writer to explain the origin of magic in this world. As the series continues, there needs to be a lot more work given to building the foundation of Babylon and its’ people.
The world building and some of the storyline was extremely reminiscent of other UF series (The Hollows, Mercy Thompson, etc.) And, the writing included a good amount of repetition. “Dirty, desperate faces”. “Brows slammed down”. “My conscience rose / reared up”. I know this is picky but there is a scene where they are drinking beer from a can. But, at the end of the scene, they clink bottles. Little things like that bother a detailed reader. There were other proofreading errors but I forgave those as my copy was an ARC.
3/5 stars for a decent start to a series that I hope will improve with time.
Thank you to the publisher for providing an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.