Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
The Prospero's War #1
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
The first in an all-new urban fantasy series by USA Today bestseller Jaye Wells.
The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn't expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.
The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she's convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she's been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she'd never use dirty magic again.
Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.
I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was pretty excited to read this book when I received my copy for review. About 8 years ago I graduated from college with a degree in literature and a desire to never have to read another book again. About 2 years after that I stumbled upon the urban fantasy genre and it rekindled my love affair with reading and books. That being said I haven't had the opportunity to read many adult urban fantasy books in the past couple years and once I got this book I couldn't wait to dive. This book did not disappoint. It contained everything I could possibly want in my urban fantasy; a tough female lead with a past, a fun & unique magical world & mythology, and hot male lead characters.
This is the story of Kate Prospero. Prospero is a young woman who comes from a mob family, but escaped that life with her younger brother and has turned things around by becoming a cop fighting against the mobs & gangs. She lives in a world where magic is real and the mobs and gangs deal in dirty magic that can do anything from make you super strong to make you super horny. Not all magic is illegal in this world; there is 'clean magic' that is sold legally by large companies and regulated. Kate has to work twice as hard to prove herself on the force because of her dark past and she also has to work to take care of her teenage brother. One night while on patrol Kate ends up killing a man hopped up (to a lethal degree) on a new type of magic potion. It turns out he was a federal informant and this act to save her own life brings her into working for the feds, or the MEA as they're called. She works with the MEA to try to figure out who is supplying this new dangerous potion and how to stop them.
The first thing I noticed while reading this book was how well Wells made a magical world that so closely resembles our own. Every dirty potion seemed to stand as a metaphor for a real world addiction. The potions that make you strong reminded me of PCP or maybe crack. There is a potion that basically makes you addicted to gambling. There is even a potion that ups your sex drive and is pretty much the same as a sex addiction. Not only are the potions like real world addictions, but there are also ex-potion users anonymous meetings that clearly resemble narcotics anonymous, alcoholics anonymous, and the various other anonymous rehab groups out there. I also love the clear connection between the 'clean magic' industry and the prescription drug industry. Kate's stance on the clean magic is clear; she sees all magic as dangerous and unhealthy. The clean magic can be addictive and dangerous much like prescription drugs in our world. It was so fun reading this book and seeing all of the similarities. Wells did a great job of making the metaphors clear without obnoxiously spelling them out for you.
I also really loved Kate. She is my perfect heroine. She is tough and smart, while also being incredibly caring and loyal. She has to work hard to prove herself and nothing comes easy for her. But at the same time she is witty and funny. She is definitely a character to root for and I will continue to root for her throughout this series. The plot itself is a mystery and one that I couldn't easily predict. The story takes you on twists and turns and will keep you guessing until the end. On top of a fabulous lead character and a fun, unique plot; Wells's writing style is just fantastic. She paces the story well and writes with both humor and wit.
This book is action packed, while also having real heartfelt moments. It had me laughing out loud at times and terrified for Kate at others. If you love urban fantasy this is a must read. You will absolutely not be disappointed. Even if you aren't the biggest urban fantasy fan I would give it a shot if I were you. It is most definitely urban fantasy, but there is so much more to it as well. This book is a quick read and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. There is a lot of potential here in this first installment. Somehow I haven't read anything by Wells before even though I have heard of her on more than one occasion and she is a prolific writer. I'm glad this is the first book I read from her because I loved it. I give it a full 5 out of 5 stars.