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Street Magic [Mass Market Paperback]

Caitlin Kittredge
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 2 2009 Black London Novels (Book 1)
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[MSOffice2] , 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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Review

Praise for STREET MAGIC:
 
“The first in the Black London series, this dark tale takes supernatural shadows to the next level…Kittredge knows how to create a believable world, and her fans will enjoy the mix of magic and city grit.”  --Publishers Weekly
 
"Sensual and empowering, STREET MAGIC is an urban fantasy keeper of a tale.  Magic, mayhem, the action never stops, I engulfed every single word and can't wait to go back for more." --Romance Junkies
 
"Atmospheric and filled with a gritty realism...the novel crackles with conflict and perilous magic.  For those who love their urban fantasy hypnotically treacherous, this book's for you!" (4 1/2 stars) --Romantic Times BOOKreviews
 
"Kittredge introduces readers to the dark side of life and magic in a well-formed fictional world with characters that you can’t help but like.  STREET MAGIC jumps right in to non-stop supernatural action, taking urban fantasy fans on a wild and bumpy ride.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing where Pete and Jack lead us next." --Darque Reviews

Praise for the Nocturne City series:

“Kittredge is a winner!”—Jim Butcher

“Fast-paced, sexy and witty with many more interesting characters than I have time to mention.” --Fresh Fiction

“Dark and cutting edge.” —Romantic Times

“Smart, gutsy.”—Karen Chance

 “Hot, hip, and fast-paced.”—Lilith Saintcrow

From the Back Cover

The first novel in a sensational new series!

STREET MAGIC

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[MSOffice2] , 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…

Praise for the Nocturne City series:

“Dark and cutting edge.” —Romantic Times

“Smart, gutsy.”—Karen Chance

 “Hot, hip, and fast-paced.”—Lilith Saintcrow

 


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good book June 17 2009
By Gwen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book, because the rest of my favourites were either not out yet or I had read them all. I usually get burned trying a new author, but this is a pretty good book. Both characters are interesting and not to stupid to live, and it is an interesting story. I say give it a try you might have just found a new series to follow.
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  50 reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good start - with one major drawback Aug. 12 2009
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an extremely good start to a series - well-structured and original, with unexpected plot developments and convincing characters who are deep and finely-drawn enough to hold the reader's interest. Rather than just presenting us with a cardboard cut-out hardboiled-but-vulnerable heroine and bad-boy anti-hero, the author slowly peels back the layers of backstory at judicious intervals throughout the book to reveal credible reasons for Pete's prickliness and Jack's damage. She also avoids overstretching the suspension of disbelief that is necessary for any fantasy story, by inserting authentically gritty touches - such as the grim realities of using heroin to numb mental pain.

The Black and its assorted denizens are comparable to Simon Green's Nightside, but only to the extent that fans of that series are likely to enjoy this one. Jack Winter's physical description is a touch reminiscent of Spike in Buffy the Vampire slayer, but a sly reference to Billy Idol (to whom Spike is an homage) in the text indicates that this is a conscious credit rather than a crib.

So why only 3 stars? Because the catch is that while the book is set in London, it is not written by an English native, and while the direct speech might be enough like that of a Brit to be accepted in the US, to an English reader it sets the teeth on edge and spoils what is otherwise a very impressive read. The mistakes are subtle, but grating - 'bugger all', for instance, is generally slang for 'nothing' in UK English and is inaccurately used here. Nor does using 'bloody' as punctuation in almost every character's dialogue (it appears at least twice on every single page) substitute for an authentic written English accent - the general effect is of something translated from another tongue by someone to whom UK English is a second language - grammatically accurate but the vocabulary use is just a bit off. If Ms Kittredge sorts out this weakness in future books, the Black London novels could become one of the best new series to hit the fantasy arena.

**Since first posting this review on Amazon.co.uk, other British readers have also commented adversely on Ms Kittredge's grasp (or lack thereof) of UK slang and speech patterns. It's a great pity, but there is still time for her to correct this one flaw before the next book in the series is published. Let's hope ...
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a new series! June 5 2009
By DF - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this story so much! Pete (short for a horrible first name--but I won't spoil the surprize by telling you what it is!) and Jack Winter are opposites who attract. Both are foul-mouthed and take-no-prisoners personalities, but Jack is a jerk/thief/liar and Pete is a cop who is tough enough to do the job. Together their dialog and interactions are highly entertaining.

I was really impressed by the quality of writing in this book and intend to read the rest of the series. The author's Nocturne City books are a different sort of voice entirely,and I like this series start a lot more, frankly.

The only real flaws to this book were, for me, very ignorable. Some of the fight scenes were a bit too glossed over, and sometimes I found fault with them. Like, for example, when one sorcerer is dragging Pete along with her struggling, she's all helpless, and I didn't get the impression she was faking that. Yet in the next scene she gets free of him easily enough. We also have Pete not recalling the incident that leads into the story, and the reveal about that is a bit inconsistent and rough in that we aren't clearly shown when Pete is pretending not to remember the incident or when she actually doesn't. The moment of change is not clearly shown. It's minor stuff, but important nitty-gritty detail stuff that a good edit should have caught. These little inconsistencies are what dropped this from a five-star to a four-star review.

Overall, though, a great read--if you can handle the constant use of the "c word" and other foul language. (I know that puts some people off, but I found it suited the character of Jack.)
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for US market..not so good for UK July 20 2009
By Katia WolfSwan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This could have been a great book, the world building is imaginative, the characters are cool and quirky. I was really looking forward to reading a new urban fantasy based in London as I'm from that part of the UK but I was sadly disappointed with the dialect. Okay, Kittredge gets it right in some places but very wrong in others. It's mainly to do with cussing, there was far too much of it for a start and some of the words like 'bugger all' were used in completely the wrong context. The word 'sod' and 'git' is rarely used unless you're a kid or you're in a dodgy soap opera where you don't have the authority to swear. It was unrealistic and instead of using those words she should have just left them out. I tried to get past it because I thought the storyline was good but it kept throwing me off course.

What a shame. I wouldn't have minded reading the next one but I don't think I would get through it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark new urban fantasy series that has a few problems, but loads of potential March 14 2010
By Houston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
'Street Magic', the first entry in Caitlin Kittredge's Black London series takes readers on a ride through a dark new urban fantasy world. Readers of Kittredge's Nocturne City series should come in with no expectations, good or bad; this series is completely different in both style and tone.

As the most talented writers are able to do, Kittredge takes a common premise, big bad ghoul wants to come back to life and needs to take over a primary character in order to do so, and makes it her own. The world of the Black is unique and captures London's noir roots, in the dark and twisting streets and alleys, and foggy nights echoing with history. Although she does struggle a bit with normal London, tending towards a punk rock tourist's view of the city, (it is certainly never that easy to get a parking spot), those who haven't spent much time in London aren't likely to notice.

Kittredge's characters put urban fantasy norms on their head, an excellent thing as far as I'm concerned. Pete Caldecott, the female lead, is a police detective with a dark and damaged past. Although she's strong, and won't be taken advantage of (see the interactions with the ex-fiancé), unlike many female urban fantasy leads, she is not bitter, broken, and angry at the world. Despite her lack of knowledge of the Black (and magic generally), she is the decisive and physically strong member of the duo, an unusual UF division of labor. Even more unusual, compared to many of the UF heroines I've read lately, she is a true leader; she knows the limits of her own knowledge, and has a good sense of Jack's abilities and problems. She knows when to step back and when to lead. With the exception of a single poor decision, (other UF writers please, please take note), she is not constantly running off into situations that she lacks the knowledge and background to handle. Although the fight scenes could use a little work, I like that Pete, without becoming superhero-esque, is able to physically fight characters who have relied purely on magic for too long.

Jack Winter is a former punk rock singer, legendary (past tense, as most assume he's dead) mage, and current heroin addict. Just who he is, where he comes from, and what he's gone through and why, are slowly revealed throughout the book, answering questions as the story unfolds. Jack is physically, and likely emotionally damaged, from his years as a junkie; unlike most urban fantasy, he is not physically able to protect Pete, and without this crutch to fall back on Kittredge develops the character in unexpected ways. Although the initial descriptions of his drug use and detox are quite realistic, his recovery is a bit too quick and falls by the wayside later in the book; another minor detail, but still an important one. Several other plot points, including Pete's relationship with her father, her dreams, and just how Jack survived that night in the cemetery, were also dropped. Although it's likely that Kittredge is reserving them for a later book, they could have been left more smoothly in this one.

As numerous reviewers have mentioned, Kittredge's version of British-speak leaves a bit to be desired. Although Jack may be a tongue-in-cheek homage to Billy Idol and Spike (of Buffy fame), they themselves are caricatures of Brits, and the author should have realized that their speech is not realistic. As an American living in the UK I have found that, with a few exceptions, the primary differences in language are accent and speech patterns, not vocabulary. In addition, even those differ widely by region and social class, thus there should be greater differences between Jack and Pete's speech. However, as another reviewer correctly pointed out, numerous successful series, including Jim Dresden's Harry Butcher, have begun with rough/inaccurate depictions of language, culture, or the physical location. If they had been condemned we would have lost some fantastic writing, and the author deserves a chance to correct the problem.

`Street Magic' follows Pete and Jack as they make their way through London's in-between world, trying to save the life of a little girl, and stay alive at the same time. An excellent mix of physical and magical action, interesting secondary characters, and an education in the Black, keep the book moving steadily. The world of Black London is enough to overcome the myriad of minor flaws. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and am looking forward to the second.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to this series.. June 8 2009
By CeeCee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Caitlin Kittredge and her Nocturne City series, so I had high hopes for her new character, Pete. I totally enjoyed Street Magic, Pete, Jack and the whole dark, gritty Black London. I also liked the difference in character between Pete Caldecott and Luna Wilder. Luna, a werewolf, has first hand knowledge of things that go bump in the night; whereas Pete doesn't. I think that made a big difference between their characters. I do like what they have in common: strong female characters and in law enforcement. I think Kittredge did a great job setting her new series and characters in London and with the way they speak, although it did take me a while to catch on with certain terms, for example,"fag" meaning cigarette. But it got easier as I kept reading. I like how Jack wasn't this perfect hero type - the good-looking-hardly-speaks-but-appears-at-the-right-time-to-save-the-day kind of character. After the botched up ritual when Pete was sixteen, we find Jack a junkie who uses drugs to keep the spirits at bay. He's sarcastic but witty and (I think) funny as hell. I look forward to reading more about Pete, Jack and Black London. Kittredge even gives fans a little look at the next Black London novel.
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