Street Magic Mass Market Paperback – Jun 2 2009
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“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
“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
“Kittredge is a winner!” ―Jim Butcher on the Nocturne City series
“Fast-paced, sexy and witty with many more interesting characters than I have time to mention.” ―Fresh Fiction on the Nocturne City series
“Dark and cutting edge.” ―Romantic Times on the Nocturne City series
“Smart, gutsy.” ―Karen Chance on the Nocturne City series
“Hot, hip, and fast-paced.” ―Lilith Saintcrow on the Nocturne City series
From the Back Cover
The first novel in a sensational new series!
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 SaintcrowSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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 ...
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.)
What a shame. I wouldn't have minded reading the next one but I don't think I would get through it.
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.