fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book review Caitlin Kittredge Black London 1. Street MagicStreet Magic by Caitlin Kittredge

Inspector Pete Caldecott is baffled. A rash of child abductions has swept London and all of her leads are turning up bad. The good news is that the lost kids are turning up alive; the bad news is they’re… changed — blinded and usually raving mad by the time the police turn them up.

Pete is almost ready to throw in the towel when a blast from the past suddenly crosses her path. Jack Winter, her sister’s boyfriend from almost a decade ago, shows up and tells her where to find one of her missing children. Even though the child is damaged when she does find her, Jack’s tip turned out to be spot on and Pete wants to know more. Jack however, is not cooperative. Not only does he hold the past history between Pete and himself against her, but he dabbles in black magic, and soon Pete finds herself immersed in evil and a world she didn’t even know existed right in the heart of London.

Street Magic sounded interesting and kind of edgy, so I decided to give it a go. I had kind of an “oh no” thought in my head after the first chapter, but I’m not a quitter and I hate the idea of not finishing something you start. But, there are those rare exceptions and, for me, Street Magic was one of them. I made it all the way to chapter 35 before I finally realized that I had been “working” on this book for almost 2 months and could only bring myself to get through at most 2 chapters in one sitting. I realized I was never going to be able to make myself finish Street Magic.

Street Magic was not a total loss; It has its bright points. I loved Pete — she had a depth that many protagonists lack in this kind of street/dark genre. I wanted to know more about her back-story: Why did she never marry her fiancé? Was she ever in love with Jack? There were many questions I was sincerely hoping to get answers for.

Jack was also an interesting character. He could be described as a kind of Ghost Whisperer, or a medium. The dead would speak to him and he became addicted to heroin to try and quiet their shouts and pleas for help. Once Pete convinced him to kick the habit however, it became known that he was more than just a medium — he was a powerful mage. I wanted to know his back-story, too. What happened in all those years where Pete thought he was dead? Where did he learn all this magic? Was there a specific circumstance that pushed him to drugs? Etc.

I guess my real thorns stuck with the plot. Overall I liked the mystery and wanted to know what was kidnapping the children and why. However, Kittredge never really seemed to get down to the nitty-gritty of the plot. It wandered. There was a lot of the budding (or rebudding, if that’s a word) relationship between Jack and Pete, they randomly get attacked by a banshee, and they happen to come across a couple of mages (who aren’t the kidnappers) holding some children hostage in a cemetery. There was too much jumping around and too many random magical incidents. I just found it hard to pay attention.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsJulie Waineo, one of our earliest guest reviewers, earned an MBA at Bowling Green State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in French. Now living in Virginia with her husband and dog, Julie is an avid reader of not only fantasy, but historical fiction, the occasional “chick lit,” and children’s literature.

Black London — (2009-2013) Publisher: Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life  mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete’s eyes — or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster’s chilling prediction has led police directly to the child… but when Pete meets the informant, she’s shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, Jack a shadow of his former self. But he’s able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget’s kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey. Even though she’s spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget — and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago…

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