Friday, 20 December 2013

Black Magic Woman by Christine Warren


Daphanie Carter is thrilled that her sister Danice finally found her Prince Charming – even though he’s not quite, well, human.  Daphanie is trying to keep an open mind.  Which is why she jumps at the chance to enter the hidden world of The Others when a friendly imp invits her to a non-human nightclub.  Daphanie’s curious to see how the Other half lives –and parties-  but soon, one handsome stranger has her bewitched, bothered and beside herself.

 Enter Asher Grayson.  As a Guardian, its his job to protect humans who get mixed up in the affairs of Others.  When he spots Daphanie in a club, going head to head with a notorious witch doctor, he steps in to cool things off.  Now the heat is on.  Daphanie becomes the target of strange magical attacks, and Asher’s got to undo the voo-doo before it’s too, too, late.  But soon he starts to wonder if this beautiful, beguiling mortal has put a spell on him – because every little thing she does is magic…


Lets start off by saying that I really do love Christine Warren’s books.  There’s a note from the author at the start of the book explaining that in the beginning there was only ever going to be five books (there are at least fifteen, at this point) and that’s why the order of things gets mixed around and some facts may or may not add up.  But that’s not the problem I have with this book.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I find the unusual spelling of a character – any character’s – name to be highly distracting.  Daphanie, for example makes me want to call her Daff-ah-knee.  Or maybe just Daffy, which is somewhat appropriate considering her behaviour in the first few chapters of the book. 

Now, I get it, I really do, that when facing the prospect of being in-laws to someone who is not precisely human – not only that, but suddenly discovering that there are far more things in this world that can no longer be scoffed at and called ‘myth’. That, right there, is perfectly understandable.  But given that her sister, just got married to a changeling, you would think that maybe, just maybe, she would ask her sister if she had a question about Other society and how to behave, right? 
At her sister’s wedding reception no less, she catches this little imp who literally looks like a small devil, surmises that he is there under false pretences and proceeds to interrogate him.  The upshot is that he takes her along to a place called ‘Lurk’ (and if the red skinned imp wasn’t a giveaway, the name of this club should have set off a few alarm bells certainly).  Did I mention that she snuck out of the reception for this guy?  I dunno, I’d be cranky if my sister snuck out of my wedding reception for any reason not approaching Chernobyl on a scale of one to catastrophic. 

Now, given that she is now in a frankly dodgy club in an area of town that she shouldn’t be in, in a club she has no business being at, with a  being she should not under any circumstances have trusted – I would have ordinarily pegged her lifespan to last approximately 3.8 seconds under the circumstances.  But given that this is a romance novel, she has the rest of the book to stun us with her dreadfully optimistic (stupid) choices.   

This Asher guy now, he seems to have his head on straight.  He’s just chilling at the bar, relaxing after a hard day’s work, and in walks this sheila with wide touristy eyes (she should know better, as the book explains several times, since she’s from Brooklyn and all).  Naturally she gets into trouble, and he has to step in.  Admittedly, it’s not her fault.  Given the same situation, and being called the same names by an obnoxious person is not going to make me react much differently to Daphanie.  Then again, if I was confronted by some guy in a seedy bar that caters exclusively to people of a … let’s say special nature, I’d like to think that I would have the damned sense to keep my mouth shut.  Especially when a huge guy with wings steps in and essentially rescues my butt. 

After all that mess gets sorted out (sort of) we get to see that Daphanie is not some hot tempered ignoramus with the survival instincts of a suicidal lemming, she’s a hot tempered, highly creative and wandering world traveller.  And she’s a blacksmith.  This is something I. Just.  Love.  A blacksmith?  How wicked is that?  Of course, by the time we get to see her in action, things have progressed to “Holy crab cakes Batman!” and she just gets the coals of her forge heated up when the manure hits the windmill.


I won’t go into details, but with doppelgangers, bad voodoo, zombies, secret plots to take over the world .. it’s another Tuesday in the world of the Others.  Once Daphanie starts using her head and Asher stops using his naughty parts, and they both start to think – we’re in business. 


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