I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.No More Black Magic by A.L. Kessler
Series: Here Witchy Witchy #1
Published by Independent on June 16, 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
I expected to LOVE No More Black Magic. It screams out that it’s my kind of book. And with a series name like Here Witchy Witchy I expected lots of humor. I thought I would gobble it up. So I was really frustrated when it ended up taking me 17 days to read 🙁 Grrr! I can’t EXACTLY say why No More Black Magic took me so long to read – I never seriously considered a DNF, which is unusual in a book that takes this long. I suspect it was a combination of not quite fully grabbing me and my life being super hectic.
Explosions, body parts, and black magic are all part of Abby Collins’ typical day. As the top Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent, she only gets the best cases, but when the Cult of Ra comes to play she might in be over her head. Finding a murderer while up against a hex, an overprotective coven, and a stubborn werewolf reminds her that nothing in the paranormal world is easy. As the death toll rises and a decades old crime, linked to Abby, is uncovered, disturbing information is brought to light. Abby must unlock an ancient language steeped in black magic to uncover the truth before the murderer comes for her.
I sort of like the main character, Abby Collins. I say “sort of” because some things grated on me and I’m not sure if it’s really her character or just that she became the vehicle for some information. For example – the thing that bugged me most – I read over and over that Abby is the BEST at what she does for the police. Good to know, sure, but I think I would have liked to come to that conclusion for myself. Or at least not have Abby herself saying it in such a nonchalant way. It made her seem egotistical, when really, that didn’t otherwise fit her character. And the number of people who said it to her was exhausting. And here’s the kicker… I believe she’s good. But having read a ton of urban fantasy, she didn’t necessarily impress me as being all that bad ass. I mean she does some stupid stuff that makes me worry if she’s really truly the best. And I’m okay with the stupid mistakes – she’s young after all and still learning a lot about herself – I love a character that needs to grow. I look forward to her journey and I wouldn’t mind if part of that is the recognition that she may not actually be as good as she thinks and everyone around her seems to think she is.
I also sort of like the supporting characters – I see lots of potential here for loving them bunches. From her werewolf potential love interest, witchy best friend, and vampire guardian, Abby has a colorful group of friends. It’s hard for me to put my finger on my problem exactly – but there was something not quite complete in the characters and this extends to Abby. I think the dialogue was rushed and sometimes a bit terse. IDK – because at other times I did laugh and have a blast with it. I think that there could have been a bit better transitions and little more fleshing out of characters.
What I really REALLY did like though was the magical world and plot that Kessler built. I found the story fascinating and the different elements that unfolded, particularly within the magical world, are very exciting. There are layers upon layers and I think this will be a rich series, especially if some of the other issues I had get smoothed out. I’m eager to learn more about The Cult of Ra, about Nick – a character that suspiciously inserts himself into Abby’s world – and to see if a romance will develop with Simon. It has all the signs of a slow burn romance, which are some of the best kinds in my opinion. And we’ve seen hardly anything of Levi and the vampire world, but I suspect it’s rich and complex as well from what we have seen.
Ultimately, I will definitely continue reading this series. It’s very promising and, since it’s book 1 in an urban fantasy series, I’m always a bit more cautious about judgements based on book one. There’s more world building to do than in a lot of genres and urban fantasy generaly struggles in book one in my opinion. So I’ll be watching for book 2 in the series for sure!