Monday, March 17, 2008

Book Review: Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

I had no idea what to expect from this book aside from a stellar recommendation from author Rachel Caine. For fans of urban fantasy, I'll have to agree with her assessment. If you're a believer in the adage "show, don't tell", then that best summarizes Gustainis talent in characterization which gripped me immediately. For example, the main protagonist, Quincy Morris, is portrayed in the first chapter as kick-ass but one quite mortal. The said scene has no bearing at all to the rest of the plot but is vital because it establishes the character. The strength of the book is easily the various personalities and Gustainis juggles several of them. For the most part, each character, whether hero or villain, carry with them their own unique tone and flavor. My only qualm is the seemingly unanimous ethics of all the characters, vigilantism on the side of the heroes, and absolute amorality on the part of the villains (so in many ways, this is one of those Good vs Evil stories). Gustainis also draws from various unconventional mythologies that fits the Western slant of the series and is executed quite competently in my opinion. As far as language goes, Gustainis is very much readable and functional without being dragging. For the most part this was a fun read that has action/adventure written all over it. If you're a fan of authors like Jim Butcher, you'll probably get along just fine with Black Magic Woman.

Rating: 3/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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