We’re so glad to welcome Kalayna Price today to celebrate the release of the third book in the Alex Craft urban fantasy series; GRAVE MEMORY (available on July 3, 2012 from Roc) and talk about one of our favorite aspects from this world; the cost of magic. In previous reviews, Abigail raved about visiting the “strange and alluring Nekros City where all the horror stories and fairy tale creatures you’ve ever heard of live along side with humans, two potential romantic leads with enigmatic Death himself and a fae with ambiguous loyalties, and a fearless protagonist in Alex Craft who works as a private investigator with a talent for communicating beyond the grave.” Look for her review of GRAVE MEMORY on Saturday.
The Cost of Grave Magic
Hey everyone! Before I start, I want to thank Abigail for letting me be a guest today. I asked what she thought you would be most interested in hearing about, and she suggested I write something on the cost of magic in the Alex Craft series.
In Alex’s world, magic is out in the open. If you’re balding, there’s a spell for that. Want a boob job? There’s a spell for that too. But just because the magic is out there, that doesn’t mean it comes without certain downsides—especially the more specialized magics.
Grave magic is one of those stranger magics and is what Alex uses in the series. It allows her to reach into the land of the dead and piece together the memories left in a corpse so those memories manifest as a shade. Because she literally sees the land of the dead, the magic is slowly burning out her vision. In fact, directly after using her magic, she is sometimes completely blind for a time. Not a good situation when someone is trying to kill you—as occasionally happens when she’s working a case.
When I was creating the world for this series, the price of magic developed rather naturally. I knew I wanted Alex to see and interact with all forms of the dead, from shades and ghosts to Death himself. Being able to see such things made me wonder what would happen to her natural sight, and so the idea that her magic damaged her vision started. I also wanted to poke at the idea that most people think of cemeteries at midnight when they think about ghosts and ghouls, but with Alex’s bad vision, she is nearly night blind. She’d never voluntarily venture into a cemetery at night.
Of course, there are other forms of magic in the world and each has its own cost. I’ve only had an opportunity to touch on a couple so far in the series, but almost any magic that affects the senses do damage to that sense. For example, telepaths who ‘hear’ peoples’ thoughts slowly go deaf and touch clairvoyants develop blisters and rough callouses when they use their magic.
I’ve had a lot of fun playing with magic in Alex’s world. It’s interesting to think about what people might do if magic were commonplace, but also important to remember that nothing is without a price. I hope that readers find it just as fascinating, and they sympathize with Alex as she tries to balance the fact she can’t not raise shades (the magic has to be used) with the damage it is doing and the potential danger.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this inside look into the Alex Craft series, and I’d like to end with a question to you. If you had magic, what would you do with it, and more importantly, what price would you be willing to pay to use it?
Available on July 3, 2o12 from Roc
As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, lately things have become a lot more personal. But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a string of suicides occur in Nekros City. The shades have no memory of the days leading up to their brutal endings, so despite the very apparent suicides, this is murder. And searching for the answers might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all…
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About the author
- Interview with Max GladstoneJuly 29, 2014
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012