Lost Magic | Book Review

With Egyptian and Métis/Native American* roots, this sorceress has a long life span, souped up powers, and a big attitude

In a world where witches, wizards, and vampires have all been integrated (though painfully) into modern society, Irelynne – a sorcerer – must hide her unusual magic while investigating a series of murders that only she will be able to solve.

Black cat laughing maniacally.
Source: “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”, original, via GIPHY

Ire is funny, relatable, and very competent. Zoro the “cat” is very sassy.

There were fresh takes on common tropes, but with a sense of modernity and respect that can sometimes be lacking in fantasy.

I look forward to the next book (due out in 2020).

Canadian cityscape reflecting on water at night

Characters

Irelynn

A long lived sorceress who struggles to simultaneously maintain her humanity and conceal her inhumanity pairs up with a vampire to solve a series of murders in a Canadian city. She lives on the fringes of two worlds, not quite fitting in anywhere.

She’s funny, likable, and flawed. This gives her a refreshing depth for a POV character.

Crouching fluffy black cat with glowing yellow eyes.

Zoro

– the talking cat – is hilarious. While a talking cat isn’t original, the author’s take was fun. Some of the scenes reminded me of “Better Off Ted“, when a woman was playing a cat and kept saying “purr” instead of making the noise. He is quite integral to the story and not just a random character thrown in for comic relief.

Blonde businessman with black acrylic frames in a mustard yellow sweater with his right hand raised thoughtfully.

Callum

This atypical vampire was intriguing. In fact, the authors whole take on vampirism was unique (hive minded parasites from another dimension). Vampires have made an imprint on the human psyche for thousands of years across so many cultures. It’s hard to do something new in that vein, but the author pulled it off convincingly while pairing modern lore.

The character himself was very prim, very human, and had a layer of conflict with Irelynn that I really appreciated: distrust. He works with her out of necessity, but doesn’t trust her motives or self-control.

Pines reflecting on a turquoise colored mountain lake in midday.

Setting

I love stories that have a strong setting, whether it’s Earth or a second world. This story grounded me fully in this Canadian city even down to fictional smog from wildfires. Having experienced a wildfire and its suffocating smoke within the past few years, this really drew me in.

Whether it was Irelynn’s shared home with Esmé (her roommate), or the various businesses and residences around Coldbrooke she goes to for her work and investigation, it drew me in. I could picture them clearly.

A brightly painted Native American mask.

She visits her mother’s home just outside a Métis reservation, and that was clear as well. Probably the most scenic locale is when she enjoys a mountain view.

Emotional Payoff

Green aurora borealis shimmering over pine trees.

With Ghost of the Gaelic Moon, which I recently reviewed, I talked about how much I enjoyed being surprised.

With this book, instead … I enjoyed feeling like I was putting together the same details as the main character. This book was very much in line with what I enjoyed about the first Anita Blake books. I say the first Anita Blake books, because Hamilton’s later works focused so much more on the romance aspect of her characters and their sex lives and I really would rather read a paranormal mystery than a romance (just my personal preference).

Did I have it all figured out? No. I was still surprised by a couple plot twists at the end that setup future books well.

“Strong female character” is a term we hear a lot. Even on Netflix I’ve seen a category listing “movies with strong female characters”. As a woman with a strong personality, I like seeing people I can identify with. Unfortunately many of those strong female characters are like “token” people of color: they are added seemingly as an afterthought and don’t truly serve the story. These types of characters are described as having Trinity Syndrome by some. Trinity in The Matrix had a lot of potential that was untapped, and she was in actuality a weak character despite being a “strong female”.

Sometimes these types of characters are judged by the Sexy Lamp Test: Could the character be entirely replaced by a sexy lampshade with a note on it and it not make a difference?

Irelynn defies these tests. She’s essential as the POV character- no one else could tell her story or be more interesting.

Having that cognitive cohesion in storytelling – thinking I knew where it was headed but still being surprised- and a well-developed character with intriguing flaws and conflict, makes this a compelling read.

A Tim Horton’s coffee cup cooling in a thick bed of clean snow.

In Conclusion

I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next. This post was #notsponsored. Lost Magic is available on Amazon.

Correction: I originally stated that Irelynne was of Métis/First Nations descent. While she is of Native American descent The Canadian Encyclopedia states, “First Nations is a term used to describe Indigenous peoples in Canada who are not Métisor Inuit.


For a bit of levity in a Canadian theme (as I am currently tending to end my reviews) here’s a unrelated meme from Schitt’s Creek.

Click here for a list of memes on Buzzfeed. It’s worth it. Do it.