Jun 11, 2018

ARC Review--Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

I remember years ago reading Kelly Meding's short story, Freak House from the Carniepunk anthology and thinking it was really good! It had definite series potential. Fast forward five years and today we have Stray Magic!

Shiloh is half djinn and a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit, basically solving the serious crimes of the paranormal community in our world. I've pretty much been fascinated with the djinn ever since I read Rachel Caine's Weather Wardens series. While we don't get very extensive into the djinn background, we get the general idea of her abilities, so that was helpful in knowing Kelly's djinn vs djinn I've previously met!

When we start the novel, Shiloh just got off a case of some sort and was about to enjoy some rest and relaxation with her sort of boyfriend, Vincent. They keep things very casual and there's hardly anything beyond sex, but almost immediately upon coming home, she's called in for another case. A large group of vampires have taken a trailer park hostage. Just another day in the life of PIU agent! Though when she arrives she learns it's not all that simple as hungry vampires wanting their own blood supply. When she meets the Master, Tennyson, she learns there's a great deal more going on then what meets the eye. Some of Tennyson's vampires are missing and he's not able to locate them. Furthermore he has spoken with other Masters from around the United States and they're missing vampires too. It is even extending to missing werewolves too.

Shiloh is forced to take point on this one when her boss is MIA. The reasoning behind his absence is quickly revealed though. The case begins spiraling out of control when it becomes clear a necromancer may be involved. The reason why he is taking the vampires and werewolves isn't clear right way. But as Shiloh and her team investigate, they learn the necromancer is far more powerful than they imagined, for he seems to be spying on them and staying one step ahead.

Stray Magic was a very interesting read. It's been too long since I read Freak House, so I can't really remember the introduction to this world, but I found it to be quite fascinating! I love paranormal books and this one was rife with paranormal beings, some are even lesser known ones. I always love when authors include them because it's fun to learn about new beings in whichever the way the author takes them. This can be said of the classic paranormal beings too, for that matter!

I wish I was able to remember Jaxon better. Jaxon is Shiloh's ex-boyfriend and team member and while I recall him being in the short story, mainly because it was mentioned, that's about all I can really recall of their relationship. I also wish Shiloh had more interaction with him. At first, I kind of thought that the interactions would happen over the course of the book, but no dice. Shiloh spends more time with Tennyson, yet I caught no romantic vibes. She still has a sort of boyfriend, who ironically get's pulled into her career side of life that she strived to keep separate. There was very little romance in this one, which kind of surprised me. I feel like Kelly's previous Urban Fantasy books at least had some kisses or tension. There was just a very small taste of kissing in this one.

The pacing to this one was okay. It's an investigation story, so I wasn't expecting it to be fast. There were times I felt like things were dragging too much. It never lasted too long though. I guess I was wanting more interaction with whichever love interest was legit. I still don't think Tennyson was one and while I enjoyed their working relationship, I'll admit, I've gotten use to at least a little kissing in the books that I read! Lol!

The ending was a bit of shocker! When we finally learn the full scale of the necromancer's identity and his cohorts and their plan...just whoa! And then the last few lines totally blew me away in surprise! I mean I had built a theory on this tidbit, so I was psyched to see it being right, but at the same time horrified of being right! Lol. What it will all mean for Shiloh in the future has yet to be seen...or theorized! I'll be anxious to see what will come of it.

Kelly Meding is back and Stray Magic was an exciting read that I was eagerly anticipating for years! It delivers on many points, even if the pacing did bog me down a bit. I was still eating up the pages! I am very excited to see what will happen next! It you like Urban Fantasy and investigative reads, this one is definitely for you!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Stray Magic releases June 19, 2018


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