Series: Magic Born #1
Published by Carina Press on October 28, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Sexual Content: Several slightly graphic sex scenes
Reviewed by: Kate
It’s 2065. Those born with magic abilities live in government-run zones, without rights or freedoms. Fear of magic created this segregated world and fear keeps it intact.
A high-profile murder brings Detective Nathan Perez to Magic Born Zone 13. He’s had little experience with the Magic Born and isn’t sure what to expect during his first encounter with a witch, but he never thought he’d be so drawn to her.
Trancehacker Calla Vesper uses magic to break into computers and aid the Magic Born underground. She has no interest in helping a cop, even if he is smoking-hot, but money’s tight and Nate offers a tidy amount for help navigating the Zone. Calla’s determined to keep it all business, but sparks start flying before the investigation even gets started.
When Calla’s trancehacking and Nathan’s investigation uncover a conspiracy, Calla becomes a target. Nate can protect her by keeping her role a secret—but then who will protect Nate?
Intrigued but not entirely sure what to expect from TRANCEHACK, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the end of it. A mixture of genres- urban fantasy, crime drama, romance and with a bit of a dystopian government thrown in- TRANCEHACK is a bit hard to explain, but a very captivating read. While I had some minor issues with the book, it was easy to read, very original, and kept my attention the entire time I was reading it.
TRANCEHACK read to me almost like a season’s worth of drama on a TV show. I really liked the detective solving a case aspect, with one overarching mystery to keep Nate occupied the entire book. There were offhand remarks made about his other work, but the main mystery- who killed Dr. Forbes- keeps him occupied, even when his boss says the case is resolved. Plus, the magical computer hacking is an unusual and fascinating blend of technology and magic, and I loved that aspect of it, and especially that it was Calla who had those skills. The marriage of the typical woman role (witch) with a typical male role (hacker) in a main character was really well done, in my opinion. And watching Nate and Calla’s relationship develop, from the rather antagonistic banter to the tentative flirting, to full on intimacy, was very satisfying. Don’t be fooled by the mystery aspect; the relationship plotline is given nearly as much page time, if not more, than the crime-solving.
The hints Clark drops in about the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world in this society she’s created are fascinating. It is always interesting to me to consider the implications of a magical coming out and how different cultures of the world would react. In TRANCEHACK, the US is definitely not portrayed as welcoming to those with magic, and instead doesn’t allow them citizenship, makes them live in special zones, and has all kinds of laws about what they are and are not allowed to do. This leads to the creation of an “underground railroad” that Calla is involved with, along with all kinds of obstacles to her and Nate’s relationship. The whole world could have been a bit more fleshed out, but overall, there was enough detail so that I didn’t get confused or feel lost, and what was explained was interesting and whetted my appetite for more.
TRANCEHACK didn’t conclude in a way I would expect and the mystery tied up a little too neatly , but with the “happily for now” ending for Nate and Calla, I’m interested to see where the next Magic Born book takes us. With multiple side characters who are touched on enough to make me want to know more about them, there is plenty of opportunity for more romantic relationships, or for Calla and Nate’s relationship to develop. This is one world I’d like to revisit, so hopefully we won’t be waiting too long for the sequel!Series Titles: