CRO's Reviews > Hard Magic

Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman
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's review
May 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: paranormal-urban-fantasy, books-read-in-2011
Read from May 13 to 18, 2011

Whoever thought an instruction manual for using modern day magic to solve crimes could be so entertaining and charming?

I'm a fan of Gilman's work - I read the first book in her Retriever series (Staying Dead) a couple of years ago and actually found my way into this series while looking for the 2nd Sergei and Wren book.

Yeah, things that I liked: Gilman's take on using magic or current (as her practitioners like to call it) is fascinating and extremely imaginative to say the least. The plot of her story is very well organized and constructed - no huge glaring gaffs or continuity issues that often arise in mystery/ romance/ urban fantasy novels. Gaffs and illogical continuity are huge pet peeves of mine so a nod to the actual mystery or snarl that has to be untangled at the heart of the novel is actually high praise from me. And as with Staying Dead - the gum shoe, 40's detective meets goth/ coffee house girl pat and narrative style is a lot of fun 89.5% of the time.

Things that were not so yeah: Didn't really connect to the characters too much and the first 50 pages were hard to get through (I'm glad I stayed with it b/c the pace really picked up after that). OK that 40's detective/ goth/ coffee house girl geek speak that I said I loved 89.5% of the time - well 10.5% of the time I found it really annoying and too clever for its own good. Sometimes Gilman's very distinctive narrative style got in it's own way and I found myself having to go back and re-read passages so I could keep up with the story. The last thing I didn't like - and I admit this is really picky - was the name of the paranormal investigative team: Private Unaffiliatated Paranormal Investigators - aka PUPI - which until they told me in about the 3rd or 4th chapter was supposed to sound like puppy I got caught in my head as sounding like poopy. Ok this last one is probably all me - I'll take that - but it was kind of hard to relax into the world of the story when my head kept referring to the investigative team as the poopy detectives. Very childish I humble apologies to Ms. Gilman.

Liked the book enough to want to read more in this series:).

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