Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wild Magic by Ann Macela

November 2009, Medallion Press
439 pages, Paperback
Review Copy

Paranormal Romance

Cushions: 3
Daggers: 2
Paperclips: 3 overall, 2-3 chapters with 5 star rating
Smiles: 5
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Summary from Gazelle Books (where I source books from Medallion).

Irenee Sabel is a good witch, a sophisticated beauty, a member of Chicago's old-money elite, and a defender of an ancient code of ethics that prohibits the indiscriminate use of power attached to magical possessions. Responsible for confiscating and destroying hidden relics of the sorcery realm still employed by practitioners of the craft for self-centred reasons, she attends an ageing warlock's gala party to burgle his safe in search of an item of mystical mayhem. But when undercover agent Jim Tylan interrupts her break-in with an undisclosed search warrant from the Department of Justice and Homeland Security, she finds herself not only launched into an escapade after pieces of a legendary evil object but also thrown together with the agent destined to be her soul mate.

Long-term readers might be surprised that I picked up paranormal romance. However, I really liked the premise behind it. And in general it didn't have as high a paperclip rating as I expected it to. Which was nice. I'll definitely be reading more paranormal romance in the future.

Wild Magic is part of a series, but as far as I can tell from the other book summaries each can be read as a stand alone book. Description of the world/scenes/setting, and occasional story summaries meant I didn't feel as though I'd missed out on starting this series part way through.

Most of the fantasy books I've read involve teens/children getting to grips with magic. It was a joy watching an adult get to grips with magic, the thought processes are quite different.

I often have mixed views on prologues. Sometimes what is in them doesn't make sense until the end of the book. Wild Magic's prologue had me wishing I had more time to read it before I headed to work. It has me completely hooked before I get to Irenee's side of the story. I liked how the setting in the prologue remained the setting in chapter one. After the prologue I hadn't expected to see Bruce and Alton's pov again, so that was a pleasant surprise early on in the book. Getting an insight into the antagonists' head always gives an interesting perspective on the story's events. I think Bruce was arrogant, dealing with magic that he felt he could control. He's not afraid to do things which makes him very dangerous. However, I never doubted that Irenee and Jim would succeed in bringing him down. Facing the real evil villain of the story was a different matter.

I like all the details surrounding magical protection, how artifacts should be stored and maintains often it is the inclusions of small details like these, as well as the larger action scenes that make a book a good read for me. As a fan of fantasy (in both books and video games), I'm used to having spells used for protection. It can be tricky to wield a protection spell and another spell if the caster is a novice. That's why the robe function of being a form of protection if a spell goes wrong is so cool.

Irenee has won my heart. I like it that she is relatively new in her job, it means there will probably be entertaining mistakes with lots of enthusiasm. I saw a lot of myself in her. The way she's super happy at carrying out her first job, how she doesn't think much of herself because she's low in magical level. It's the lower levels who help the higher levels to function. But then her power grew when she became a Sword (explained early on in WM), someone who can destroy magical objects. She's spunky, with a little bit of attitude but not overly so. It was odd that her friends and family became more protective of her as her powers grew. They must love her a lot. I half wondered if they thought she might get overconfident in her abilities. But an incident near the start of the novel had me doubting that line of reasoning. The way she finds things amusing in serious situations is something I can relate to.

Irenee and Jim compliment each other. Irenee wields powerful magic, thinks about how strong a spell is and uses magic for protection. Jim is the opposite, preferring technology and logical reasoning above magic. That doesn't last long when it's discovered he has magical talent. His reaction is hilarious:

pg 123 ...First I'm a mutant. Now I'm going to go nuts?

Irenee isn't impulsive per se, but her natural exuberance means she goes with the flow, thinking of the bigger picture. This is unlike Jim who looks at the practical side of an outcome before executing it. This does cause conflict between them, one which isn't instantly sorted out.

Although technology was mentioned alongside magic, I was surprised to find usbs used in the story. (It makes sense with the entire book set in the modern world, but as soon as I see magic I instantly think a non-Earth setting). It helped me settle into Irenee's world, knowing that I would find a fair amount of similarity with real life. This type of world has equal appeal as a completely fabricated one.

The story often didn't head in the direction I expected it to which made reading it very enjoyable. It's fun if I can accurately predict a story, but when a plot twists unexpectedly I'm drawn closer to the edge of my seat. There is so much humour here, it was rare to find a page where I didn't smile.

Illustrations - the front cover definitely fits in with the content of the book. Additionally the little stars which separated the different povs (at least they looked like stars to me) were a nice touch.

Ann Macela can be found on her website. Go check out all the details for her other books, which look cool.

Suggested reading: Lisa Shearin's The Trouble With Demons and Maria V Snyder's Storm Glass.


Liana Brooks said...

Sounds like a fun book. I may have to pick it up :o)

Unknown said...

This really sounds like the sort of book I would enjoy. Great review.

Nayuleska said...

Thank you :)