Author: Lyn Gala
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Detective Zach Johnson never resented his lack of magic, although he hated that as a mundane he had no power to stop a corrupt Talent council from stealing the resources of the magical community. However, the return of the ancient ifrit guides led a blood-thirsty hummingbird to choose him as a partner. Now he can be a true equal to his shaman lover, Art Lammas, and the two of them can take on the council and the entire community if need be.
Art Lammas loves Zach’s enthusiasm and sense of justice, but the Talent community is much more complex than he assumes. Not only does El Paso struggle under the corrupt leadership of the council, but it stands at a place where three different traditions clash: the Vatican-trained shamans from Mexico, the Egyptian-trained shamans of mainstream America, and the Native Peoples traditions, which are far more complex than Art can possibly describe. Art would far rather focus on solving their cases. More than that, Art fears that Talent might be the one force in the universe that could drive a wedge between them. Art would happily burn all the magic out of the world before allowing that to happen, but he may not have that choice.
Review: The Egyptians have their nose in the business of El Paso’s magical community goading upheaval and someone has murdered a rapist. So of course that’s when Zach starts asking all kinds of uncomfortable questions about Art’s childhood and how magic works. That’s what Art needs at this time. Zach isn’t just asking these questions to be an annoying boyfriend. Now that he has his own guide after a life of being mundane Zach wants to know how magic works and how the magical communities function. Art can’t answer that stuff, and there is nothing pleasant at the heart of why he can’t answer that stuff. Meanwhile, Art and Zach still have a murderer to catch and a victim whose death leaves both men feeling conflicted.
Of all the Aberrant Magic books this is possibly the easiest to pick up and read without having read the others. There’s less magic and less information from previous books needed. Make no mistake, previous characters show up and you will need to know the difference between an adept and a shaman, but you’ll still be able to solve the murder along with Art and Zach.
Art reminds me of a Third Culture Kid. He doesn’t really fit anywhere. Some of this is Art’s own fault, but a lot of it is because he was born into one magical tradition yet practices another. Art has the most basic level of knowledge of being a shaman and of the Native Peoples traditions he grew up with. However, he doesn’t have anything beyond that. Art’s cat guide exists, and helps on occasion, but beyond that he really doesn’t know what he’s doing as a shaman. He’s stuck in a no man’s land and has no home to return to. No home except Zach, who is from neither of the traditions Art has grown up with.
In previous books we’ve mostly seen the difference between how the Egyptians and the Vatican have dealt with magic. Now we’re seeing how the old world and the new world have dealt with magic. It is really different. To be completely honest I don’t understand the finer points. Art went out on his Vision Quest and came back with a cat. Could that happen to any Native Peoples kid? Was that a choice Art made somewhere alone the way? Was this explained in the book and I was daydreaming when I read that? Most speculative fiction seems designed to show us how we’re all alike. This was a refreshing and fascinating departure, I just don’t think I understand what’s really happening.
I enjoyed this book. I’m still curious about where this series is going. Possibly now I’m a bit more curious as I want to know how Art managed to come home with a cat when that was never his plan.