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Book Review: Storm of Magick
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Storm of MagickBy Darkeva

Storm of Magick
Logan Wolf Chronicles Book 1
By L.A. Burton
Price: $2.99 (Kindle Edition)
Pages: 262
Publisher: Lulu
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 11, 2010

Plot Synopsis
Logan Wolf is a ghost-hunting witch who helps Little Rock’s Special Unit on supernatural and occult crimes. When she’s called in to investigate a scene that seems strangely familiar, she finds herself in a race against time to capture a killer with paranormal power and evil origins.

To make matters worse, Logan and her friends are battling Palmira, an insane werefox queen who’s taking advantage of the murders to further her own plans for power. When Logan’s twin brother is pulled into the fight with Palmira, Logan must unleash the full force of her unruly magick to save him, and all of Little Rock. Even if it means incurring the wrath of the feared Elders’ Council along the way…

The Review
The novel introduces us to Logan Wolf, a paranormal investigator, who gets a call from her boss about a strange case. It’s a typical beginning not uncommonly seen in urban fantasy novels, and Logan reveals early on that the supernatural creatures in this town, especially other witches, aren’t fans of hers.

My level of interest toward Logan fluctuated between intense interest and mild interest. There are some points where she’s appealing, but if you don’t read beyond the first few chapters, she comes across as the typical UF (urban fantasy) heroine:
• Works for a paranormal investigation squad.
• Tough-as-nails attitude toward her work and life.
• Enjoys physical fights.
• Got into the business because she wanted to use her abilities for good.
• Vendetta against supernatural creature spurred her on to join the fight against evil.
• Complicated love life.

To understand what a character is all about, I have to be able to sympathize with her early on. And although Logan has an interesting background and some aspects of her magick use are cool, I think the author could have made her more believable by:
• Outlining a specific goal and attaching motivations that corresponded beyond “kill supernatural bad guys,” even if this generalization includes the goblin that killed her friend.
• I would have liked to see more consequences to Logan’s magick use — a
reaction to show her powers have limits.

Despite this, one too many “male companion” characters cropped up and crowded things a bit; the ones who stood out for me were Evan and Paris. A few too many races also appeared, and although I didn’t have trouble differentiating them, the distinct race for me was the Vason, the half vampire half faeries, which is why I would have liked more involvement from them apart from Connor, one of the “male companion” characters, turning into one. That certainly helps make the “they can turn anyone into one of them” threat come alive more, but I wanted to know more, which is perhaps something the author will explore in future volumes of the series.

The good: Logan’s rapport with the male characters is excellent. If you enjoy the love-hate relationship between Anita Blake and Jean-Claude in the early Blake novels, you’ll really like the way Logan interacts with the guys, especially Evan.

Let’s move on to bad guys. One of them, Palmira, is a werefox who, although she thankfully avoids Disney villain territory, could have used better dialogue and making her overall role stronger so that the reader could feel a more distinct threat from her.

In terms of plot and pacing, I felt that the action really got rolling around Chapter 5, and I think starting there would have made for a stronger opening. With pacing, it oscillated between exciting and mundane, with fight scenes going to the former and Logan’s “sitting on a log and thinking” type scenes going to the latter.

The good: When there was action, as when Logan sparred with a lycanthrope, I found myself wishing for more, because the scenes ended so fast that I didn’t have time to absorb them.

One of the larger plot issues is tension. I didn’t get a strong sense that Logan was in any long-term danger until near the book’s end. Sure, people kept on dying of supernatural causes and Logan had to fight lycanthropes, but more emphasis on how this related to Logan would have left a stronger impression. But the biggest issue for me was showing versus telling; Logan’s first person point of view could have revealed more about her reactions to specific events, as when a character she trusts tries to rape her. Instead, Logan tells the reader everything that the author wants us to know, as opposed to showing us what we need to know and omitting what we don’t.

Author Strength: World building. The author has a clear sense of constructing an urban fantasy universe that the reader will want to get into, and I liked the concept of enclaves of witches. I would have liked to see more development of this in particular and the Vason race.

Overall Thoughts: The novel is a solid effort from a debut author who has created an interesting urban fantasy universe. And although the book introduced too many supernatural races and could have done with more showing and less telling, urban fantasy fans will want to get to know Logan Wolf and the world she’s built. If you’re big on werewolves, shapeshifters, wererats, and other werecreatures, and you’re a fan of Kim Harrison and early Laurell K. Hamilton, especially Guilty Pleasures, you’ll enjoy this book.

Darkeva’s Rating: 3.5/5

Read the first chapter here.

Review copy received from author.

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