Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review: 'Cursed Moon' by Jaye Wells

Cursed Moon (The Prospero's War, #2)This book was, in many ways and from the very beginning, a surprise to me. I was sent this book by Orbit after I became more interested in Urban Fantasy and I had never heard of the author, the book or the series. In some ways you could argue this is a terrible starting point, on the other hand it doesn't happen often I get to start a book completely blank. And in the case of Cursed Moon that was a definite advantage.
When a rare Blue Moon upsets the magical balance in the city, Detective Kate Prospero and her Magical Enforcement colleagues pitch in to help Babylon PD keep the peace. Between potions going haywire and everyone's emotions running high, every cop in the city is on edge. But the moon's impact is especially strong for Kate who's wrestling with guilt over falling off the magic wagon.
After a rogue wizard steals dangerous potions from the local covens, Kate worries their suspect is building a dirty magic bomb. Her team must find the anarchist rogue before the covens catch him, and make sure they defuse the bomb before the Blue Moon deadline. Failure is never an option, but success will require Kate to come clean about her secrets.
Cursed Moon is completely different from, well, almost everything I have read before. Wells writes completely unapologetically and when it comes to magic that unleashes sexual aggression, it shouldn't come as a surprise that some of the passages in the book are quite confrontational. On the one hand I found myself disliking these parts of the book and on the other hand I loved the honesty of those scenes. And even if they are not your cup of tea, the more explicit scenes are relatively sparse and surrounded by some really fun and energetic writing. Energetic might seem a strange word to use for a writing style, but Wells' writing moves easily between dialogue, exposition and description and successfully keeps the pace going. Not once does a scene feel unnecessary or as if it's dragging the book down. The frequent cursing might throw some readers of but I felt that most of the curses were relatively colloquial ones that people do genuinely do use in their every day lives, so I wasn't too bothered by them.

One of my favourite things about this book (and the rest of the series, which I am yet to read) is how it deals with magic. Although it is something innate, to some people, it is highly addictive and is also something you can leave behind you. Magic is something that is used in a lot of books but not always successfully. In Harry Potter it works because Rowling spent a lot of time figuring out how it should work. Similarly, it feels as if Wells really thought about the idea of magic being cooked and how it would operate, which means that the concept works. Although there are a few gaps for me here and there, those will probably be filled when I read Dirty Magic, the first book in the Prospero's War series, and then anxiously wait for the next one.

Kate is a fascinating main character. Helped by Wells' insightful writing, it is really interesting to see Kate Prospero battle with old and new demons. Although her situation sounds about as unrelatable as they get, her problems are very human. Whether it is dealing with family members, struggling with your job or trying to come to terms with your past, there will always be problems and I really enjoyed how Wells combined those "normal" problems with magic. Apart from Kate, there are a whole range of interesting characters with a good balance between female and male characters. I also enjoyed the appearance of a hermaphrodite, which is a group who we don't often see represented in literature or any kind of media. I also felt that their relationships were well developed and not too cliche. Of course there is romantic attraction here and there but it never overpowered the narrative, which I was very happy about.

I give this book...

4 Universes!

I really enjoyed reading Cursed Moon. It isn't often a book manages to overthrow my expectations and I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. Wells' writing style is really fun and recognizable, which makes her characters all the more enjoyable as well. I would recommend this to people who need a strong, female heroine in their life and are looking for something new with magic. Cursed Moon is a quick read but is full of remarkable moments.

1 comment:

  1. OOh nice review! I loved Jaye's previous series and I did read the first one in this one too! My copy's on its way and I can't wait to read it as well! Nice review!