[Book Review] Where magic is murder

Book Review: Trickster by Jeff Somers

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I can’t get enough of urban fantasy worlds.

There’s something about that intersection of our everyday mundane existence and that extra, fantastic reality just on the edge of perception that just gets me. In each new book in this genre, the edges of reality are peeled away just a bit to uncover that something extra amid plot and mystery and compelling characters.

In this, Trickster doesn’t disappoint.

In Trickster’s world, shedding blood powers magic, and the only rule is anything goes as long if you have the power to pull it off.

This is the first world I’ve read in which there is no lip service to policing the magic community, no on-the-hill governing body that tracks down magical criminals, no good wizards tasked with tracking down the bad apples. In fact, it’s a grimy, desperate, and harsh underworld of magic that rewards serial killers with status and mass murderers with the power to move mountains.

In this dark universe that exists parallel to the modern world, Lem has a gift for magic, but refuses to shed other people’s blood, and so can never become anything more than a parlor-level trickster, barely scarping by with this or that latest con. The only way Lem can rise in rank is to bleed other people.

He and Mag, Lem’s simple-minded giant of a companion, are just making it day-to-day, con-to-con when they collide headlong with a powerful conspiracy, dead bodies, and the kind of magic that can only be done with a pile of bodies powering it. His first instinct (and second, and third) is self-preservation, because you don’t cross the kind of people who don’t bat an eye at murdering folk for power, but if it were that simple, I wouldn’t be waxing eloquently about this book, na’mean?

I love the grittiness of the world, the harsh realities of it, the desperation, anger and resentment pent up in the main characters and their relationships. The mysteries surrounding the other characters pulled me in…and the improbability of the challenge facing Lem and his questionable allies.

Canary Verdict:

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