A Criminal Magic
It's 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city's magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters' crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have esta ...more
It was yet another book that's described as " The Night Circus meets [insert something else]" and unsurprisingly it didn't live up to the high expectations it set for itself. [Deadpan:] "Imagine that."
I'm really tired of these amateurish books comparing themselves like that; all that does is disappoint. And this time is no different. The characters are flat, the world is depressing and uninteresting. I just couldn't finish it.
Verdict: Save yourself the time and skip this forget ...more
The year is 1926. In our real world, America would have been in the throes of the “Prohibition era”, a time in the twenties to early-thirties marked by a nationwide ban on the sale, production and importation of alcohol. But in the world of A Criminal Magic, it is sorcery and its related activities and products that are ruled illegal by the passing of the 18th Amendment.
However, the attempt to clamp down on the “evils” of ...more
(I clearly had fun writing this :) ...more
Actual rating: 2.5
You know the feeling when you eat something that is not sour or sweet, but indistinguishable. You can't decide whether you like it or if it's just strange and confusing, and you never want to taste it again. That is how I feel about this book. Indecisive. I don't even have much to tell about it, because it was too average, too insipid. All I feel is a shattering relief that I finally finished reading it. F...more
4.5 out of 10
Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives (please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)
Funk Off – Magic Touch
Caro Emerald – The Wonderful In You
Mits Jazz Band – Magic Mirror
Genre: magic-realism, historical-fantasy, YA
Stuff: illegal magic, Roaring Twenties
Fail: boring story
WOW: the ending
POV: 3rd-person, she/he
Love-Geometry: zero with seeming elements
We have this 1920s world with gangstas and bowler hats and street smarts...and sorcerers. Magic has been outlawed, so it went with the prohibition vibe, but instead magic is outlawed and sorcerer's have to hide and they make this alcohol called ...more
Ok, so this book is: if Martin Scorsese adapted THE NIGHT CIRCUS and set it in an alternate-1920s America where magic has been outlawed. GANGSTERS. MAGIC DRUGS. MAGICAL SPEAKEASIES. UNDERCOVER GOVERNMENT AGENTS. ROGUE SORCERERS. DOUBLE CROSSING. TRIPLE CROSSING.
First of all, I LOVED READING ABOUT THE MECHANICS OF THE MAGIC. I found myself re-reading most of the explanations of spells and rituals and whispering "WOW" a lot. The magic s ...more
Fancy something different in magical worlds? This might be it... re ...more
I never really wanted anything grand from this book - just mix some high-quality criminal with a generous amount of magic and I'll be fine. And I've got to tell you, the first sip was rather intriguing - freshly made sorceress, discovering her true powers in a magic competition combined with the handsome young man, also touched with ...more
The nitty-gritty: A gritty and magical story with plenty of danger, romance and a very special drink called sorcerer's shine.
Magic can achieve a lot of things, but it can't undo the past. I've sworn off sorcery, buried my magic with earth, blood, and tears below the ground, but I'd gladly sell my soul to use it just once more, if sorcery could find a way to bring me back in time. If it could bring me right to the edge of where I once stood and shattered my world into tiny shards, and make
I had so much fun with this book. The premise was something you just can't go wrong with (Prohibition era outlawing addictive magic instead of alcohol? YES PLEASE) and then on top of that we got some extremely engaging characters, solid worldbuilding, and a plot that just won't stop.
There is nothing about this book that I wouldn't recommend, though I will throw out one caveat: this isn't a YA book. I have no idea why it was ever billed as a YA book. This is I thought ...more
The story is told from duel perspectives of Joan, who travels to DC in hopes of becoming part of an elite, yet still illegal, magical troupe and Alex, a law enforcement agent who has his own personal grudge to bear with the crimi ...more
This is adult fantasy. A CRIMINAL MAGIC is such a fun story full of magic and danger. This story follows Joan and Alex in a world where magic is illegal. Whenever a sorcerer performs magic, that magic can be placed into water and it turns into Shine. Shine is a very addictive drug. Since magic is all but illegal, families keep their magic to themselves. Joan is part of a family in trouble. An accident took her mother and left her and her cousin running ...more
Mobsters, smugglers, and enchanted elixirs as potent as drugs - this is the wild, hypnotic world of Lee Kelly's A Criminal Magic. Set in an alternate Prohibition era where magic is banned instead of alcohol, this edge-of-your-seat thriller thrusts two budding sorcerers into Washington, D.C.'s criminal underworld. Joan Kendrick is hired by the Shaw Gang to perform at their "shining room" (think magical speakeasy) so she can provide for her family; while Alex Danfrey, so ...more
Full review to come
I don't know what I just read, my heart's still racing because of how intense this was. Sure magic is powerful and dangerous, but you know what else is? THIS BOOK. For my HEART.
Joan and Alex are on the opposite sides of the field, in a way that Joan is convinced that her magic is being used for a good thing (like getting high!), while Alex is posing as a double agent in order to stop people like his father, who distributed the drugs and profited from it. Both lead incredibly dangerous l ...more
And of course, like Prohibition, in the US, the Mafia is involved in getting shine to those that still want to drink and enjoy it, despite ...more
This is one of the most underrated/under promoted books of the year. Seriously, if you’re a fan of historical books with a little bit of fantasy, I can’t recommend A Criminal Magic enough. From the very first page, this was a book that entirely enthralled me and that feeling of being hooked never dissolved. How could it not? It’s got illegal sorcery, clubs, mobsters and crime – a fabulous combo, in my opinion! Joan, one of the two protagonists of this book, is a young sorcerer is offered a job b ...more
The author isn't able to convey a real sense of the 1920s; there's a little bit of 1920's slang tossed in along with far more slang from decades later which jarred ...more
Naturally, the passage of A Criminal Magic’s fictional amendment results in the same response as its historical analogue: sorcerers are thrust into the criminal underw ...more
Just finished this. I liked it, but didn't love it. Gave it 3.5 stars, downgraded to 3.
The first issue I noticed was that while the chapters switch between Alex and Joan's perspectives, the voices were too similar. This issue had started to go away as the story progressed, but then when they started to be in the same place it became an issue again. I would be reading a chapter and literally forget which "I" was speaking from time to time. (Would've been better in third person, maybe, as then ...more
I really enjoyed this book! However, for me, this seemed more like a book about gangsters and rival mobs that happened to have magic as the central theme. That's to say that the magic almost could have been removed entirely from the book and it still would have been just as interesting.
I loved both Alex and Joan. Great characters who are each involved with these gangsters for their own secret reasons, unbeknownst to the other. The relationship between them seems like a natural progress ...more
Basically the ONLY thing about this book that didn’t suck was the magic system. It was interesting. Underdeveloped but unique. If the story had focused on the magic, on the alternate universe where it’s magic and not alcohol that’s prohibited by the 18th Amendment, I might have enjoyed it. The characters and plot ruined everything though.
There is lit ...more
An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York.
She lives with her husband and son in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still ca ...more
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She sparks to life a small sphere of light, maybe the size of a globe, right above the audience’s heads. And then she breathes life into it, slowly expanding it, like she’s blowing up the world’s most brilliant, glimmering balloon.
I whisper beside her, “Incredible.” Because despite how dangerous magic can be—how it’s been used to hide murders, cover up robberies, send people spiraling into the throes of addiction—there’s just no denying that it is.”