Thursday, September 5, 2013

Magia Rising / Monique O’Connor James

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words

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Monique is the mother of two beautiful children and lives in a small community outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently works full time as an insurance agent, but her favorite jobs are mother, wife, and author.


On his eighteenth birthday, Nixon Trudeau is shocked and confused when he suddenly develops magical ability. The story, set in New Orleans in modern times, follows Nixon’s struggles to master his powers and to understand the shadow world of witchcraft he has entered. 


Overall, I enjoyed this story until the end—more on that later. The prose is light and contemporary, fitting for the young protagonist, Nixon, and his love interest, Liivie, who are both in their late teens.

A central character suddenly having powers thrust upon him is hardly a new premise, but Nixon’s early denials were well presented. His naivety leads him into danger, and the manner in which he escapes from other witches, far more cognizant of their powers, seemed believable. The plot moves quickly, and the tale kept me engaged enough to finish in two sittings.

I enjoyed Nixon’s female counterpart, also. Liivie begins as an opposing force, but through love, comes over to Nixon’s side.

The bad guys were suitably evil, particularly Liivie’s brother who brought to mind Rowling’s Draco Malfoy.

When Nixon’s friend turned out to be not as he seemed, it stretched my disbelief some. Frankly, I didn’t see the purpose of the switch, either. But it wasn’t a deal breaker.

I do have two niggles:

Firstly, as a writer, I mentally edit everything I read, and the author’s use of passive voice was so dominant that it often forced me out of the story, especially during the climactic fight scene at the end. If a reader doesn’t suffer from my self-editing obsession, this may not be an issue.

Secondly, the ending sucked. I guess this is the first in a series, but I don’t find it acceptable to read a full-length novel and then have an ending without any conclusion. Leave a hook or story question, sure, but to fade to black not showing how the conflict finished, who lived, who died, and to introduce a new character on the last page left this reader feeling unsatisfied and cheated.

Format/Typo Issues:

Too few to mention.

Rating: *** Three stars

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