Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
The sixth book in the series focuses on the policemen in El Paso from book three, Art and Zach–partners both on and off the job. We know that the local council had misallocated or openly stolen federal money instead of using it for a Djedi Center, so Salma comes to see what facilities and resources are available for local people with Talent.
Zach has found a spirit guide in one of the old ifrit–an Aztec hummingbird named Pochi. So, like Darren, he has no powers of his own, being neither a shaman nor a trained magic user, but now has some power at his disposal, which is not really a lot of help at this point. In fact, it is difficult not to compare Zach and Darren, so it’s also difficult not to compare Art and Kavon. I did laugh as Art visits Zach’s version of the spirit plane. It’s a good way to drive home that though these couples are similar in some regards, they are their own people, so it’s unfair to expect them to act the same. Their banter and the ways they like to irritate each other are part of their charm.
The point of this book is to fix the political problems locally and rally the magical community in order to oust the corrupt council members. Art has always made it very clear he doesn’t want to be involved, so it’s no surprise when Zach can’t convince him to challenge for a seat when hundreds of shamans and adepts meet on the spirit plane to discuss the situation as everyone picks a side. It is both difficult and easy to see Art’s side of things and while I might not agree, it’s an accomplishment of the author to make Art such a complicated character. At this point, I have to admit that Art was not my favorite character in this series. However, Art has many good reasons to have a few chips on his shoulder. This book helps establish why his personality may not be that inviting. In the middle, he made me laugh out-loud. By the end, I wanted to both hug him and punch him out at the same time. We finally get some differences between the way the Vatican, the Egyptians, and Native Peoples train people who have a spirit guide. I also enjoyed seeing the psychological aspect of a guide’s relationship with their shaman.
Art and Zach are called to the scene of a murder. Their victim is actually a famous rapist. I enjoyed the parts about them working the case, although the subject matter is disturbing. The emotions are also difficult to handle as his father is questioned by police and the author creates some empathy for everyone involved. There is a good job of juxtaposing the awful case they are working on and the private lives of the detectives. This is an established couple so we walk in on the middle of their story and get to share in their intimate moments and their journey to their HEA. Adding in family dynamics was a great way to add depth to this story.
This book really puts us forward in the overarching plot, whilst showing new allies for the fight ahead in a more nuanced depth. This also takes us structurally back to the first few books, while stylistically it has some things in common with book five. I liked having Art’s POV (third person limited) for most of the book, because he would come across unfavorably if we didn’t know his thoughts and motives. We need to like him, so this was a smart move. Now, in hindsight, I wish we had gotten to know one of the shaman in Toronto the same way in book three. I am so excited to have the links between this book and book five explained. This is a great addition to a series that has been uneven in many ways. Still, there is always something in each book that draws me back.
The cover art is by Natasha Snow and is in keeping with the rest of the series. I believe it shows Art and Zach in the meditation room of the police precinct going to the spirit plane.
Sales Links: Amazon
Published August 20th 2018 by Lyn Gala (first published August 16th 2018)
SeriesAberrant Magic #6