Review: Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman

, by Kt Clapsadl

Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman
Paranormal Scene Investigations #1

Welcome to P.U.P.I.—Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations
A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can't touch—crimes of magic.

My name's Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic user and severely unemployed. Until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn't applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work—so off I went.

Two days later I'm a PUPI—me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twenty somethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic.

The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. We're sniffing out things they'd rather keep buried.

Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting. The only problem is, we're making it up as we go along….
 
Bonnie, a recent college grad, comes from a very unique background. She was raised in two different worlds and this makes her a little different from everyone else. She's having a terrible time trying to find a job because of this. But then one day, a mysterious phone call changes everything. She finds herself mixed up in a group on the cutting edge of magical forensics. It's up the her and the team to set out and prove their worth in order to keep their jobs, all the while dodging someone's sabotaging efforts. Not everyone wants magic to be policed and if they aren't careful they stand to lose a lot more than just their jobs.

Bonnie is a really interesting character. Her birth father was a lonejack, an unorganized magic user, and her mentor/adopted father is a full fledged member of the council, the organized side of magic. This makes her very unique as she comes from "both sides of the river." In this book lonejacks and council just do not understand the other, but Bonnie does, and this is a rare talent. She also has amazing mental recall which makes her really good at capturing a scene. She also is bisexual, which isn't a problem in itself. However every time she meets someone she spends a long time in her head analyzing her attraction to the person, and that got old after a while.

The most enjoyable part of the book was the characters themselves. The team is comprised of individuals that could not be any more different. But somehow they all blend together to work great together. Don't get me wrong, in the beginning it was rough until they learned to play well together, but as time went on you could really see why the boss men picked each of them. Speaking of the boss men, the lone jack of the two, Vasic was really intriguing. I enjoyed the slight sexual tension between him and Bonnie and I'm eager to see whether it is just one sided or mutual.

This book really had a lot of potential for me, but it ultimately fell short. While the premise behind the book was intriguing and original, the book was paced incredibly slow at times, making it hard to stay focused. It became confusing at times because I just couldn't keep my interest in it enough to really pay attention to the fine details. That being said, I think the series could really pick in future books as the world has been fully established. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions with each other, so hopefully the next book will pick up the pace and make it a really enjoyable book. I'm rating this one a generous three butterflies based on the potential of the series.

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Hard Magic (Luna Books)
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