Done for Sockpoppet’s 2014 Reading Challenge R is for Run (the main character is running from something)—I should have run from this book.
Crimes Against Magic is a perfect example of a "should have" book. It should have been good, I should have loved it. It had an interest plot and a pretty cool protagonist. But, like all should haves, there were a lot of things that prevented me from loving it.
World-building (and how it was presented)
The author tried to make it into a The Nightside series-The Dresden Files combo, but it fell short of both. In the Dresden Files, Jim Butcher built up the world gently by expanding, introducing a new facet of it in each book.
But in Crimes Against Magic, the author immediately buffets the reader with information. Worse still, every time someone tries to explain something, they sound like exactly like an encyclopedia entry.
"There are several types of psychics. Some have convulsions when they see a vision. Some enter a trance-like state. Some even cause both themselves and the person they're viewing to go into a trance-like state. The one common denominator is that they need body contact, the more powerful the psychic the less contact they need."
"Ever heard of Harbingers?"
I shook my head.
"They're the elite warriors of Avalon. They undergo a series of mental and physical trials to ensure that they operate at peak performance. It involves increasing their abilities, both magical and otherwise, through the use of psychics and rune work. Firstly, they give participants access to power that would otherwise take them a hundred years to develop. And secondly, it creates a loyalty and bond between each other, which is almost unbreakable."
It sounded less like a character explaining something and more like an audio book reading of "The Boring Encyclopedia of Supernatural Creatures".
The Nightside series also suffered from info-dumping but most of it happened inside John's head, so I could write it off as a character quirk.
In Crimes Against Magic everyone talked like that once something needed explaining. This got old pretty quickly since everything about the supernatural world was info-dumped onto the reader. Any spark of interest I felt for the world was stifled by the way it was presented.
The characters were pretty bland, which was pretty surprising considering that all of them have pretty interesting backgrounds: the spunky kid with a neglectful mother, a woman who belongs to the mafia family but is rattled by the thought of violence.
But the thing is...they all had the same voice.
None of them were distinct enough that I stopped referring to them as Minor Characters X and Y.
Nathan Garrett: Sorcerer Extraordinaire is obviously meant to be a hardboiled detective/thief, but he just came out as a Mary Sue.
Everyone he meets immediately becomes friends with him (and are willing to die for him) or they're a villain.
Oh and every lady he meets wants to screw him, which can get pretty annoying to read about.
No man is that appealing--unless of course you're Nathan Garrett.
Unless it helps the plot or character development, I don't really see the point of putting so much sex scenes in a book.
It does nothing but tell us, the readers, that Nathan Garrett is hotter than u, so suck it bruh.
The plot seemed decent at first: a sorcerer wakes up in a warehouse with no memory of who he was. Beside him, a paper with the name "Nathan Garrett" written on it. Ten years later, the demons of his past catches up with him. It was pretty interesting but it got bogged down by all the stuff I already mentioned.
By the end, I was reading not because I wanted something to happen but because I wanted to get the book over with.