Monday 17 April 2017

Book Review: Strange Magic (Essex Witches Mystery #1) by Syd Moore

Title: Strange Magic (Essex Witches Mystery #1)
Author: Syd Moore
Publisher: Point Blank
Publication Date: 4 May 2017
Pages: 298
Format: eBook - EPUB
Genre: Mystery
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.

Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.

Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

Both the cover and blurb of Strange Magic appealed to me when I requested the book from NetGalley and, overall, it was a pleasant read--just not quite what I was expecting. I had assumed there would be actual magic accepted and performed during the course of the story. However, the author takes a more sceptical approach, with the characters explaining away most of the potentially magically events that do take place. This is the first book in a series, so perhaps that magical aspect will grow more prominent in future tales, but, in truth, this first story is more mystery than fantasy/paranormal. I still enjoyed Strange Magic; however, I felt that it lost impetus in the last quarter or so, and I started to skim more, simply wanting to see how it ended. Rosie was an engaging character, though I didn't completely buy her budding romance with Sam, but my personal fave was the cat, Hecate, who sadly didn't appear again after the opening few chapters. Given the opportunity to read on in the series, I would give book two a try, but I wouldn't rush out to buy it. If you are looking for urban fantasy, Strange Magic is not for you. However, if you enjoy a cosy, light mystery, then you'd probably enjoy it.

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