On the surface, it's a common domestic situation. Typically rebellious teen Savannah is constantly butting heads with protective guardian mother Paige Winterbourne. But the standard teen traumas pale in comparison to Savannah's difficulties. To begin with, her mother Eve, a black witch, was murdered, and now evil telekinetic half-demon Leah O'Donnell is trying to gain custody of her, by legal or foul means. Standing in Leah's way is Paige, a rather typical twentysomething entrepreneur, trying to come to terms with this motherhood thing. That, and her status as leader of the American Coven.
Welcome to East Falls, a sleepy small town outside of Boston that turns out to be a veritable hotbed of occult activity. It is also the locale for Dime Store Magic, a thoroughly entertaining supernatural thriller. As with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dime Store Magic features a contemporary setting and outwardly normal characters. This device provides scope for humour and social satire, and Kelley Armstrong proves adept at both. For instance, there is Savannah's observation that "all the best sorcerers are lawyers. Well, until they get older and become politicians." In fact, a young sorcerer lawyer, Luis Cortez, becomes Paige and Savannah's best ally in the fight against the evil forces terrorizing them. In Dime Store Magic, the third in Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series following Bitten and Stolen, she displays a nice ear for dialogue, an imaginative way of describing the differing characteristics of witches, demons, and sorcerers, and skill in piling on the suspense, which adds up to one fun read. --Kerry Doole
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From Publishers Weekly
Unlike the Wizard of Oz
, the witches in this sexy supernatural romance, including the murdered mother of 23-year-old heroine Paige Winterbourne, are not evil entities inhabiting a fairy tale land. They're an ages-old race of women so frightened by the possibility of exposure and endangerment that they've allowed their magical powers to atrophy. When Paige inherits her mom's mantle as Coven leader, however, she also inherits caretaking responsibility of Savannah Levine, an extremely gifted but rebellious 13-year-old who possesses her dead mother's penchant for dark magic-and for attracting the unwanted attention of darker magical beings (including Savannah's long-lost sorcerer father). The only person Paige can depend on is the one person she doesn't want to associate with: Lucas Cortez, an endearingly nerdy lawyer/sorcerer ("It was a sad world when a witch had to rely on a work-starved sorcerer for help"). As in Armstrong's debut novel Bitten
, this story's special strength lies in its seamless incorporation of the supernatural into the real world. A convincing small-town setting, clever contemporary dialogue, compelling characterizations and a touch of cool humor make the tale's occasional vivid violence palatable and its fantasy elements both gripping and believable.
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