A.M. Justice's Reviews > The Finder of the Lucky Devil

The Finder of the Lucky Devil by Megan Mackie
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really liked it
bookshelves: spfbo

The first thing that intrigued me about Finder of the Lucky Devil was its classification as science fantasy in an SPFBO group sale. I had thought it was urban fantasy, because its subtitle on Amazon is “a Paranormal Thriller.” It does indeed contain a mix of magic and mythical creatures in a setting that seems like present-day Chicago. But we soon learn that the characters actually live in a high-tech dystopia, where corporations own almost everything and are trying to gobble up whatever remains. It’s Percy Jackson meets Blade Runner alongside Lake Michigan.

At the center of the confluence of corporate greed and magical resistance stands Rune, a tavern owner hiding from her past self as well as a variety of corporate goons, super spies, and faeries who think she can find the mysterious Masterson files—a MacGuffin-like bundle of knowledge assembled by Justin Masterson, an ace computer programmer who aimed to integrate magic and technology. Rune has a magical Talent for finding lost things, and the story gets going when one of the super spies, a man who bears the title Saint (perhaps in a nod to the 1960s TV series?), tries to hire her to find Justin’s ex-wife Anna in the hopes that Anna will lead him to the missing documents. The trouble is, Rune and Anna are the same person, so she can’t take the job. The double trouble is, she needs the job, because the mortgage payment is due and the corporate villains are going to take the farm—or bar, in this case—unless she comes up with some cash, fast.

I’ll confess, I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned melodrama. I used to perform in them when I was young (and the bright lights of Broadway still topped the ambition list), and I always found the deliberately corny plotlines and silly romance enormously entertaining. Lucky Devil, which is about an ingenue under threat from a villain and the stalwart hero who does his darnedest to rescue her, takes the structure of a classical melodrama and subverts it in a very clever and highly entertaining way. The mustache-twirler’s role is divided up between several corporate enforcers, and the hero is a spy with a dark history of murder and betrayal. The ingenue, Rune, isn’t your typical blushing virgin who gets tied to railroad tracks either, but she is innocent (a key aspect of her character) and very, very good. She even dresses in white.

The story is also very effective at tugging at the heart strings (the emotional depth is a thousand times greater than a classic melodrama played strictly for laughs). Rune is a broken young woman with no self-confidence, who has been trained from birth to play it safe and hide from her own potential. She’s also deeply empathetic and has a nearly pathological need to help other people, even those she despises. This inclination toward helping others lands her in trouble but is also her saving grace. Many of the people closest to her spend most of their time tearing her down, constantly insulting everything about her, from her appearance to her weight to her intelligence, and it takes a while for Rune to stop believing them. You cannot help but root for this character as she discovers her powers and realizes she’s capable of saving herself and those she loves.

The narrative does have its flaws. It’s an action-packed roller coaster of fights, battles, and narrow escapes, but a lot of the action wraps up a little too neatly, with too many tidy coincidences, lucky accidents, and last-minute cavalry rescues. The text also head-hops in dizzying fashion, which can be confusing and sometimes robs scenes of emotional power. In some cases, I felt like there might have been a simple formatting error, where a skipped line between scene breaks was missing, but in others the point of view switches on a sentence-by-sentence basis. Mackie writes in an engaging, energetic style loaded with concrete nouns and illustrative verbs, but there are also a lot of distracting grammatical stumbles. Finally, the nature and motivation of the primary villain are not explained or explored in a satisfactory way, although perhaps this will be revisited in the next book.

Despite these problems, I really enjoyed this book. It made me chuckle, it made me cry, and it kept me turning pages. It’s a diamond in the rough in some desperate need of a jeweler’s polish, but it is still a genuine diamond.
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Reading Progress

August 21, 2018 – Started Reading
August 21, 2018 – Shelved
August 26, 2018 – Shelved as: spfbo
August 26, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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C.T. Phipps An amazing review! I loved Rune's adventures and am eager to see her and Saint hook up.


A.M. Justice C.T. wrote: "An amazing review! I loved Rune's adventures and am eager to see her and Saint hook up."

Yes, me too. St. Benedict is a fascinating character loaded with intriguing secrets. I'm curious to see if my suspicions turn out to be correct.


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