Dime Store Magic
Published 2004 462 pages
Reviewed by Ania Tyburska
Summary (from the book jacket)
Leader of the American Coven, guardian to the preteen daughter of a black witch ... it's not the lifestyle twenty-three year-old Paige Winterbourne imagined for herself, and it's wreaking hell on her social life.
But she's up for the challenge. When half-demon Leah O'Donnell returns to fight for custody of Savannah, Paige is ready.
She's not as prepared for the team of supernaturals Leah brings with her, including a powerful sorcerer who claims to be Savannah's father. Cut off from her friends, accused of witchcraft, Satanism, necromancy, murder... Paige quickly realizes that keeping Savannah could mean losing everything else. Has she finally found a battle she isn't willing to fight?
I have a very bad habit. If a book does not manage to capture my attention after the first twenty or so pages, I just throw it away and move to the next interesting read. As I said, it is a horrible habit that made me, for example, read Harry Potter after practically every one else in the world did, because when I reached for it the first time, I decided that no way can any story with flying motorcycles be of any interest to me.
That is why Dime Store Magic is actually the first novel in the Women of the Otherworld series that I read in whole and I started it only because Amanda, the editor of this site, recommended it very strongly. Some time ago, I began reading Bitten, the first installment in the series, but after the first twenty pages in which the werewolf Elena only moped and went for a jog to relief her aggravation I could not make myself concentrate any longer. Luckily Dime Store Magic can work perfectly as a stand alone story and most of the missing elements I could very well guess without reading the first two parts of the series.
The story concentrates around Paige Winterbourne the nominal leader of the witch coven and her under aged ward, Savannah. Paige is a nice character. A bit of a wuss and do- gooder, but her voice gives the story the unique flavor and actually manages to smooth up a few narrative bumps. I also really enjoyed the love story between her and the geeky sorcerer, Lucas. It is nice to finally read about a relationship that blooms on the fundament of similar interests and mutual understanding and not an adrenalin infused near death experience, as it normally happens in urban fantasy novels.
The secondary heroine, Savannah, is a totally different story. She is an epitome of a sulky teenager with an anger management problem. Which actually gives lots of credit to the characterological side of the novel. Also most of the backstage characters can boast pretty complex personalities and not just cardboard facades, as it often happens. That gives the whole magic infused story a nice touch of reality.
There is not much action to talk about, as the heroes spend most of the novel inside Paige's home, under the media siege. Never the less the book contains some graphic descriptions of rites and one nasty zombie outbreak so action fans should not be too disappointed. For me personally the most interesting part was the inside into the life of a small town community and the herd instinct that rules in such places. Unfortunately the ending pretty much conveyed the massage that the individual cannot win against the society, for which I deduct half a point. Another half a point goes for the lack of vampires. They certainly exist in Kelley Armstrong’s otherworld, but sadly not in this book.
LoveVampires Review Rating:
Kelley Armstrong has many original short stories and a novella about the characters and creatures from her published books on her website (just follow the Extras link to ‘Online Fiction’.) Visit Kelley’s website.