Early Review: Dirty Magic (The Prospero’s War #1) by Jaye Wells

January 20, 2014 Review 4 ★★★★

Early Review: Dirty Magic (The Prospero’s War #1) by Jaye WellsDirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Series: The Prospero's War #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: http://www.orbitbooks.net/excerpt/dirty-magic/
Published by Orbit on January 21, 2014
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia
4 Stars

Sexual content

References to sex, prostitution, and sexual assault.

The first in an all-new urban fantasy series by USA Today bestseller Jaye Wells.

The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn't expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she's convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she's been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she'd never use dirty magic again.

Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.

DIRTY MAGIC brings wizardry to the violent power struggles and chemical dependencies of the city streets, through the eyes of a heroine who has lived on both sides of the law.  Wells builds her world on a mix of pharmacology and alchemy, giving an urban fantasy flavor to this gangland drama.

Though I enjoyed DIRTY MAGIC, I never quite lost myself in the story.   Whether it be the slightly confusion gang inter-relationships, the seemingly arbitrary line between "dirty" magic and "clean", or the not quite note perfect emotion of Kate's addiction to magic, this world was interesting but not immersive.   The characters, however, have my full attention. While Pen and Baba were mostly backdrops that allowed Kate to be both a cop and a single parent, Kate's colleagues and enemies were complex enough to keep me interested.

Despite my minor issues with this book, it's building a strong foundation for future books.  Hopefully the next installment can use DIRTY MAGIC's world building as a springboard for a more immersive experience.  Kate's position, pinned between her underworld past and her law enforcement present, will definitely have me coming back for more.

Similar Titles

4 Responses to “Early Review: Dirty Magic (The Prospero’s War #1) by Jaye Wells”

  1. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    I agree. Dirty Magic builds a strong foundation for future novels, but it wasn’t really immersive. I didn’t find the characters quite as engaging though. Lovely review, Julia! :)

    • Julia

      I particularly liked how the usual “multiple love interests” issue was handled. There’s more than one attractive dude in this book, and they both have some pros and cons. It seems like things will be able to develop organically (up until the very end, which gave me a few “plot drama” concerns).

  2. Alexa

    Sounds like this was a good story but it did have the flaw of not enough world building. I’m a huge character driven reader so I tend not to mind so much when world building takes a little longer to get going. I do see where you are frustrated though because UF books are often about the vast world that the characters are living in.

    Thanks for the great review!

    • Julia

      My concern wasn’t really that there wasn’t “enough” world building, rather that there was a lot in a pretty obtrusive way. I found myself distracted and thinking about the magical system, “seeing the wires” so to speak. I would have preferred to be entirely immersed in the book, with a few pleasant surprises when the magic pops up to shape the world.