Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman
Paperback: 336 pages
Available: May 1, 2010
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Book received from: Net Galley
My name’s Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic-user and severely unemployed—until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn’t applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work,so off I went. Two days later, I’m part of the Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations (PUPI) team with four other twenty-somethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic. The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. Looks like this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we’re making it up as we go along…
Bonita (Bonnie) Torres is fresh out of college and aggressively job searching. She’s living in a hotel thanks to the generosity of her mentor, but is more than ready to find a job and stand on her own two feet. She is also a magic-user, also known as Talent. She, and other Talents are able to use electrical current to create magic. When she receives a mysterious phone call offering a job interview for a job she didn’t apply for, she’s suspicious but decides to go for it. The next thing she knows, she is offered a job as part a brand new paranormal investigative team called P.U.P.I (Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations). It’s sort of a CSI unit for the super-natural community known as the Cosa Nostradamus. Their first case is to investigate the deaths of couple of Talents suspected of being a suicide.
Hard Magic is the first book in the Paranormal Scene Investigations Series. In looking at Laura Anne Gilman’s website I see that it is based in the same world as her Retriever series. Although I have not read the Retriever series, I was able to pick up on the Cosa Nostradamus world quite easily and I believe this series can be read without having read the Retriever series.
Overall I would say that Hard Magic is not your average run of the mill urban fantasy. The world that it is based in is quite interesting and I really did like the CSI aspect on the story. However, I felt like the story fell a little short in actual mystery and suspense and wished there would have been a little more focus on the actual investigative angle.
Bonnie is all the things that I usually like in an urban fantasy heroine. She is independent, proactive and comfortable with who she is. However, I never really connected with her and felt she lacked a certain charisma. There was nothing particularly unlikeable about her, I just didn’t seem to connect. A few of the secondary characters possessed a bit more spark but I felt like they too lacked that wow factor.
While I liked the creative take on magic and the world this book was based in, I didn’t connect with the characters and I had hoped for a bit more in the area of mystery and suspense. Unfortunately this book was not for me, but after reading Hard Magic, I am curious about the Retriever series and I have not totally ruled out reading the next book in the Paranormal Scene Investigations Series.
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Other books in the series:
Pack of Lies (Spring 2011)
Hard Magic on GoodReads