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Book Review – Dirty Magic (Prospero’s War #1) by Jaye Wells

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So this is the first of (hopefully) many buddy reviews we’re going to do. You just have to sit back, get comfy and enjoy our probably hilarious, certainly awesome, definitely entertaining discussion… Here goes!

Kate Prospero is pounding the pavement on her nightly patrol of The Cauldron, a run-down part of town in the city of Babylon plagued by dirty magic, when she is attacked by a deranged werewolf-like creature. She shoots him in self-defense (as you do) which sets off a chain of events that leads to her being recruited by the MEA (Magical enforcement Agency). Kate’s keen to move up the ladder at work and eager to help clean up the Cauldron, where covens selling dirty magic rule the streets and a turf war is brewing.  Add to the drama a hot new partner, and a potentially dodgy ex love and things definitely start to get interesting.  

Charmaine – So firstly lets talk about the men!!! John Volos, Kate’s ex-boyfriend, fellow Adept cooker, current Babylon big-wig with the mayor in his pocket, a force to be reckoned with for sure…you just can’t seem to decide whether he’s good, evil or a good type of evil! My only problem with Volos is I wish he had more pages dedicated to him…

Also deserving a definite mention while we’re talking about men is Drew Morales…her new partner in the MEA. At first he definitely comes across as a typical arrogant detective type you see on the TV, a boys-club only type of guy. But as the story continues, his tough guy veneer does start to wear away to see a little bit of charm, a lot of sex appeal and a protective nature. By the end you’re totally a fan. No doubt about it, Kate has two very strong male characters up close and personal in her business.

Kristal – Is it bad to have a favourite already? Because John Volos is edging ahead for me at the moment. Don’t get me wrong- I liked them both! But I think John just came across as a little more interesting. I definitely agree with you saying he needed more pages. I think we needed a little more background story on him and Kate? I really had no idea why she was so angry at him when it seemed like he was the one that got his heart broken by her.  

I loved the protective side of Drew! He always had her back when she needed and really came through for her at the end. I loved his background story. It really gave his character a lot more depth. Took him from alpha male douche cop to next level babe. He definitely won me over. Also I think his background story stopped me from getting a little too bogged down in ‘cop life’ details. 

Charmaine – Speaking of ‘cop life’ details. There was a lot of that. Like I was living the cop life. Which obviously makes sense being the storyline and all, but you do really have to wrap your head around all of the lingo if you’re not used to reading cop story-lines (which I am not since I freaken HATE CSI type TV shows etc) I guess on the positive side, thanks to the writing you really feel like you’re in that gym with the other detectives getting the riot act from your boss and you really feel you’re out on the beat catching perps and talking to informants. And really, the magical aspect was pretty neatly woven into the real life police force drama being written about… I guess maybe I was expecting more magic less police work, it was almost overbearing for me… is that because I’m all about whimsy not practicality?!

Kristal – Haha listen to you! “…on the beat catching perps…”. You crack me up. It seems like you got a grip on that lingo pretty quickly Charm! But yea, I’m not a cop show watcher either. I’m definitely more about the magic and less about real life stuff. The magic part of the story is what really kept it interesting for me. I loved the explanations of the different potions and hearing about the consequences each of those potions had on the person addicted to it. It was well thought out and well written. In this book magic is very black and white for Kate, so it will be interesting to see if there’s a grey area for her, and if she’s willing to explore that. I’d really love to see more of what Kate can do with her magic! 

“I’m no scientist, but from what I’ve seen, the most common denominator for addiction was simply being human.”

Charmaine – Ok before I go into anything else, speaking of the consequences of each of the potions… holy crap there was some weird ish going on with people and potions!!! Imagine what our actual world would be like if people could get magic like ‘Vanity potions’ Blegh!!! It was an interesting concept to have physical ramifications of potion abuse… and I agree Kristal, I loved reading about all of those potions and the magic. I loved how it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns using magic. It was gritty and the lines between clean magic and dirty magic were so thin. I pretty much felt that in this book, magic was their version of our drugs. It mirrors how in our world there is also a thin line between pharmaceutical drugs and illicit drugs…very easy to make comparisons. Also, I’m with you Kristal…is it evil of me to hope that Kate does get back into a tad more magic? This is the start of a series isn’t it?!!!

Pretty much here are my future wishes: Firstly, more John Volos, various storylines would be acceptable as long as he was still mysterious and amazing…. Secondly, more magic and more Kate magic…. because I’ve heard how much of an amazing (potion) cook she is and I want to experience it! Lastly…. Less Little Man staring at people with his tiny black eyes. Seriously, I had to Google his description (homunculus) and I think I had nightmares…

Kristal – I’m going to make a paper mache version of Little Man and hide it in your wardrobe one day when you least expect it. Quick note – loved Kate’s’ neighbour! She was hilarious. 

This was definitely the start of an interesting new series. I think we are both keen to see what will happen next in the world of Kate Prospero. There’s a lot more story to be told! Bring on Prospero’s War #2!

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