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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Hard Magic / Laura Anne Gilman

Hard Magic - Laura Anne Gilman

Welcome to P.U.P.I.—Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations

A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can't touch—crimes of magic.

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 a PUPI—me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twentysomethings, 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. We're sniffing out things they'd rather keep buried.

Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we're making it up as we go along….


I loved the basic ideas of this book--that magic would leave a signature and that a CSI-like team of people could solve crimes via their Talent. It has great potential. However, I felt like there should have been more action and less agony in this first volume. Bonita is a pretty good main character, but she does an awful lot of personal analysis (mostly about the men in her life). She desperately needs a female friend--someone to talk to so that the reader doesn’t have to listen to her inner monologue quite so often. Perhaps in the next book, but the only other female character in this one doesn’t seem to have good chemistry with Bonnie. 

Still, I liked the book enough that I will look for the next volume. The trick is going to be finding it! My library doesn’t have it and I just happened to find this one at my favourite used bookshop. Looks like I will be using interlibrary loan once again.

I do think that the name of the magic community, the Cosa Nostradamus, is genius! Giving the impression of the mafia combined with magic, you realize just what the PUPI organization is up against. Add to that the mysterious Fatae, fae-like creatures, that exist in this version of New York, but haven’t been utilized to their full potential in this first volume. I do hope that they feature more prominently in future books.