Book Review: Dark Magic, by Raluca Narita

Raluca Narita‘s Dark Magic was over on Sadie’s Spotlight, and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book as part of the promotion packet.

dark magic cover

The Goddess of Death, the Grimm Brothers, and the Devil collide in a thrilling new paranormal fantasy series.

Primrose Titan is the Goddess of Death, an ancient deity who reaps the souls of the dead and rules the Underworld. All life ends with death, and in death, there is no happiness. Primrose knows this better than anyone, and her heavy responsibility has twisted her reality, purging her of all feelings for humans—or so she believes.

When the Demon King Lucifer escapes his prison in Hell and threatens chaos on the human world, Primrose must hunt him down. The High Court, a council of deities, is skeptical Primrose can handle Lucifer on her own and appoints the handsome yet icy Atlas Grimm, one of the fabled Grimm Brothers, to assist her. Strange, dark magic and supernatural creatures sent from the Devil himself stand in their way, along with political enemies acquired over the millennia.

my review
Honestly, I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. I think it has crackin’ world, magic, and plot ideas, but the actual plotting needs to be tightened up a lot. The book started off strong and ended with me wanting to know what happened next. But I was so bored in the middle that I considered DNFing and, though I wanted to know what happens, the twist at the end I saw coming. (I even have a pretty solid guess about who the mystery masked villain is. I’m pretty confident I’ll turn out to be right.) The combination of having muscled through the middle on little more than determination and then hitting a predictable, cliffhanger ending was a pretty weak ending, in my opinion.

I did like Rose, though some of her characterizations made no sense to me. The whole insistence on stilettos felt both out of place and out of character (and cliched). The fact that she is one of the oldest goddesses alive but reads like a stroppy, ill-informed teenager felt like infantilization. Her abilities felt inconsistent (unbeatable at some times and easily overcome at others), and there is just a general sense of the deities (all of them) who hold such contempt for humans being too HUMAN.

Add to all of that a fuzzy sense of time and history, two male leads—neither of which the reader gets to know well enough to be more than cardboard cut-outs—and some truly odd phrasing in the writing (that is otherwise pretty clean) and you have a bit of a fizzle read. However, I believe this is the author’s first book, and there is a solid base to improve on. She has obvious talent.

dark magic cover photoI always hate to say this, but if this book had been given to a ruthless developmental editor (not a copy editor, but one to work with Narita on tightening the plot and cutting out some of the chaff and cliched aspects), this could have been so much better than it is. I think that’s what bothers me. This is so close to being so good and does itself a disservice by not quite getting there (at least in my opinion). All in all, I’ll say it was OK, not bad, but it doesn’t live up to its awesome cover.

Other Reviews:

Stephanie’s Book Reviews: Dark Magic

{Review} Dark Magic by Raluca Narita




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