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Magic or Die

(Inner Demons #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  48 reviews
James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.

When James
Published July 2nd 2018 by NineStar Press
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)
This was way better than I was expecting, because the beginning was a bit faltering and I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. But boy, I did!

Basically, the premise is that there's this facility where powerful, out-of-control magic-users learn to use their gifts properly, and the protagonist is a teacher there who is forced to return after a year's absence to fulfill his contract and is assigned a class of six adult students. It kind of reminded me of the X-Men if the mutants were more parano
2.5 Stars
Daimonion was a strong first book, it had some interesting characters, a darkness, and I looked forward to Magic or Die. It pains me immensely to say that this book and I didn't really gel completely.

The premise of this book is a good one, and it has moments of 'must read' within its pages. The five students that James has to take under his wing have so much potential. James is initially at the CMRD because he's emotionally blackmailed into a contract by the aggravating and one dimensi
Ulysses Dietz
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Magic or Die (Inner Demons, one)
J.P. Jackson
Ninestar Press, 2018
Five stars

Ooh, this ain’t your cute Harry Potter and his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes. This is big, dark, and very corporate, full of conspiracies tainted with money and disregard for human life.


James is a young man with enormous psychic magic. He was trained at the Canadian Center for Magical Research and Development, CMRD, but also known in whispers as Control Magic or Die. He is still under obligation to them and
J.P. Jackson
2018-19 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention in Gay Alternate Reality


M/M Romance 2018 Member's Choice Awards Nominee for Best Paranormal


I'm not going to rate my own book - that'd be silly! But I will say this...I had such a good time writing this story. I think I'm slightly more in love with this book than my first. I know, we shouldn't choose which of our children are our favorites, and yet...

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy the adventure of James, Isaiah, Ning, Chris, Annabelle, and Camila.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review to come.

This was a new author to me and I was extremely impressed with the level of world building and detailing which went into this quite unusual paranormal.

There is an element of a romance, but it's not the driving force of the story, it's more about friendship and beating the odds and fighting for the right to live your own life. Someone else's review has mentioned it has an X-Men vibe to it and I think that's true to an extent.

But it's not so much about the power these young ad
Casey Peel
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I finished this book yesterday. Think Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters but for adults (including sexy gay characters) with magical & arcane abilities. Except instead of being run by benevolent Professor-X it's run by an evil bitch who wants the students trained into magic or be killed. In particular I enjoyed how arcane powers were portrayed and used vs what is conventionally considered magic.

I think the book should have been ~50% longer with more lead up to some of the relationships and plot
Nicole Diskin
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads, june-2018
I received this book as an ARC courtesy of Net Galley and Nine Star Press!
Magic or Die is an intense, fast-paced story and I Loved every Second of it!
Magic or Die is the tale of James a very broken and haunted man with some incredible powers who is manipulated into becoming a teacher and mentor for 5 incredible young adults with some even more amazing powers. Along with a corrupt corporation and one evil Bitch, this was part X men part stranger things with so much heart as this broken and batter
F.E. Jr.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, fun, scary romp through the world of the paranormal at the end of a gun. Brilliant imagery, fascinating characters, I read this all in one sitting.
Jonathan Pongratz
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, superhero
Original Review at Jaunts & Haunts


I give this novel four superpowered stars!

This is my first read by this author, and I was thoroughly impressed!

Magic or Die is a novel centering on a man named James who has supernatural abilities. Having a past with the government agency known as CRMD, he is called in to tutor a class of superpowered twenty-somethings. Many things have changed since he’s last been to the CRMD, many disturbing things. If he can’t train his class of superpowered individuals to
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, horror
This is one of those stories that will grab you and keep you reading until you finish. After reading the first novel by this author I had thought, wrongly, that this would be another ride into the regions of a twisted imagination (not a bad thing). What I got instead was a cross between; Harry Potter, Shadow Hunters, and Lost Girl. There was the right mix of tension, drama, and levity making this a fun read. Don’t get me wrong, it was dark and creepy and there are some images I won’t forget, but ...more
E.M. Hamill
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had so much fun with J.P. Jackson's first book, Daimonion, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.
Jackson delivers another horribly good time with Magic or Die. I felt guilty watching all the terrible things James Martin and his students were going through and enjoying every second of it!
James is blackmailed/recruited by CMRD, with whom he has a traumatic past, to teach a group of exceptional and dangerously gifted magic users how to control their powers. He quickly discovers that not o
Books That Burn
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-recs
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.

Running out of time, Magic or Die is fun and terrifying in turns. With strong characterization and an instantly hateable bureaucratic villain, this fantasy is no one's daydream, and the demons may fill your nightmares.

I loved reading this, I read it in one sitting and enjoyed every minute of it. Sometimes I was just laughing while reading, I had such a good time. It's also very dark and deals with a lot of stressful to
Joyfully Jay
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: elizabeth
A Joyfully Jay review.

2.25 stars

The idea behind this story is a good one, compelling and instantly hooking me in with the action and clever plotting of The Great Escape combined with the drama and magic Prisoner of Azkaban. Powerful, misunderstood people — who may or may not be evil depending on their inner demons and if they have the strength to resist them — planning an escape from a despotic prison warden unfairly holding them in impossible cages. Unfortunately, the idea is the only part of
Matt Doyle
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wanted to start here by saying that the author, J.P. Jackson, has an excellent eye for detail when it comes to worldbuilding. That’s something that really shines, especially in terms of the magic system. That’s really important too because magic without a set of rules in place doesn’t really work in books aimed at older readers, at least in my opinion. Here, he’s set up several classes of ability that work well alongside each other. Sure, the different styles are fairly common fantasy elements ...more
Hélène Louise
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
(I thank Netgalley and NineStar Press, LLC for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

« Magic or die » was a good read, with some interesting developments magical superpower wise. This part was great and well done. I also really appreciated that the students were all together and not bickering and demoralizing one another. The romance was sweet, even if it was a nearly instalove story (more insta-lust and insta-friendship story) with a little too much « cuteness » and « furryness »
Jacqueline Rohrbach
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing

The premise of the story is that there is a facility (CMRD) that trains people with powers to control said powers. If they cannot learn to control their powers, they are killed. James, who was once a student and then a teacher at the CMRD, comes back to teach again after much prodding and poking from Miriam, the book’s antagonist.

Unwilling at first, James quickly forms bonds to his new students and sets himself to the task of saving them before they are murdered.

The world building was solid, a
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm-recs
Recieved from Netgalley. Great start and plenty of background information. From the start the story hooks you. Demons, magic and shape shifting. One broken man to reign in five out of control subjects in six months or they die, each one with a unique power. Isiah, Annabelle, Ning, Chris and Camila. Favourite character was Isiah. The demons were creepy but cool, Miriam needs to die and Cody was full on chills down your spine. Really enjoyable and so much going on. Loved it. Looking forward to the ...more
Jacob Rundle
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel had many things that I love: psychic abilities and a school filled with magically inclined students. This story had resemblances of the X-Men, which is my favorite Marvel group. The main character, James Martin, must return to the school, CMRD, to fulfill his contract. The story has magic, psychic abilities, demons and more.
There were a few spots where I felt that the story dropped flat, but it didn't affect my rating overall. The fact that the story had all of the above items allowe
Sara (BookshelfSOS)
There are probably people out there who would love this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite right for me.

The only expectations I went in to Magic or Die with came from the summary that I read here on Goodreads, and it really made it sound like it sound like the kind of story I would be into: characters with traumatic pasts and emotional depth, high stakes involving the commodification and trafficking of magically gifted people, and a queer romance subplot. All things that I love and look for
Wart Hill
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-2019
Things I Find While Shelving

I received a free ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I enjoyed Magic or Die for the most part. It's an intense story with twists and turns and more than a little creepy magic-y goodness. I love the way that Jackson has crafted the magic in this world and discovering more about the characters' powers along with them was very interesting.

There were a few things, however, that just didn't work for me.

The main one was, unfortunately, Isaiah and James's re
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for honest review.

And the review is long overdue because things that come in a way like a broken laptop and other attractions.

Short version: The book has some problems, but it is overall a very nice read.

Long (and slightly spoilery) version

The blurb got my attention immediately. I am a sucker for that kind of fiction, so I dug in quite fast. Unfortunately, the first few chapters didn’t sit well with me. I felt a bit bored and annoyed, but if I
Mary Mary
*I was given a free copy of this book via MMRG "Don't buy my love" program in exchange for an honest review. *

FABULOUS story with AMAZING characters!
This is definitely different from anything I have ever read. It is written in a way that made me crave more, I have no idea how am I supposed to wait for book #2.

This book is magical, but not in a way I expected. It is dark and complicated , full of injustice and dangers. It shows a world full of demons, where they are not as dangerous as people
Anne Barwell
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, m-m
This book is an interesting start to a series I will need to keep an eye out for. I liked that the characters are flawed, and fighting their own demons as well as coming to terms with their powers, and lives. The book’s language is full of figurative language, very descriptive, and the scenes are easy to visualize.

The magic system is complex and very well thought out, and I enjoyed the world building which is one of the big strengths of the story. Each character has his, or her, own powers to m
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nice bit of world building from J.P. Jackson, author of Daimonion, and a great addition to the horror/fantasy genres. This is his second novel and it shows, with a surer hand and confidence in the writing. It’s unfair to compare the two books because they are so different. Daimonion was a good, gory read, but with Magic Or Die, the self-assured plotting, scene-building and dialogue make for a book that is more accessible to people unused to the demon genre.

In a nutshell, we have James who has hi
Just floored by how much I loved this book. The character development alone is fascinating. Even if the kids ( young adults really) have some crazy scary abilities you can’t help but root for them. They are dark and complex, can be horribly frightening, but sweet and caring. And when the teacher is one big screw up, an alcoholic who is just done with the whole thing, well, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Quite a lot, and her name is Miriam. Action packed, the book really keeps you on the ...more
Christina's Bookshelf
I'll let my review do most of the talking. Just know I read most of this in one sitting and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish. The ending was......W-O-W!!!!!!

You can see my full review here: Christinas-Bookshelf
Christopher Nagy
Entertaining to the last page!

There's Action, there's adventure, magic, demons, love, and survival... it has it all. Definitely worth the read. J. P. Continues to intrigue me with each novel. I cannot wait for the sequel!
Fangs for the Fantasy
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
James is crawling into a booze bottle and trying to forget a lot… especially his ex and his old job working for the Facility. He is not happy to return - but to help his sister he sees no choice

And when he gets there, he’s shocked to see how much this Facility for developing the magically gifted has changed, and not for the better. The new subjects have “sponsors” who expect to take possession of their targets, the deadlines for being up to standard are impossibly short and the penalties for not
Liliyana Shadowlyn
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. The story is so much deeper and complex than the synopsis would lead one to believe. James, literally haunted by his past, only wants to do right by his students, but the CMRD isn't making it easy. To the CMRD the students are commodities, and the pressure on James is immense to turn them into profitable and marketable products. But with James's conscious never far from the surface, this story turns from a simple twisted fantasy world into a thrilling tale. Follow J ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

For the full review visit

From that review: " When I start reading a novel by a new author, I always try to approach that first chapter with a fresh outlook and happy  expectation that perhaps I've found a new writer to add to my TBR pile.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes not.  On the rare occasion I find an author that goes immediately on my auto buy list.  Welcome, JP Jackson to that list.

Magic or Die
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J.P. Jackson is an award winning author of dark urban fantasy, paranormal, and even paranormal romance stories, but regardless of the genre they always feature LGBTQ+ main characters.

J.P. works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At nigh

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