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Monday, 2 May 2011

Review: Street Magic (Black London #1) by Caitlin Kittredge

Pete Caldecott was 16 when she thought Jack Winter died. She unwittingly helped him summon best left dead and he died from it, and she has been denying what she saw that day every day and night since. 10 years later she is an Police Inspector, working on a case where children are getting snatched. This leads her to Jack, who says he can tell her where the missing children are. But the supposedly long dead Jack is not how she remembers, he is 10 years older, a heroin addict and living on the streets. But he does help her, bringing her into the world of the Black, where the line between the normal and the magical is thin and the dark things in the corner of your eyes are waiting for a chance to ensnare you.

I can't state how much I loved this book. It was dark and gritty and nothing was ever quite as it seemed. The world of the Black, was a nightmarish place, things were always on the look out to rip your throat out and take your power. In Jack Winters world it was kill or be killed. The whole book had a sense of foreboding and darkness about it that made it a fast paced and exciting read.

I have seen Jack Winter described like Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And I think maybe appearance wise that may be the case, but I think Spike would be a pale shadow next to Jack. Jack was an interesting and absorbing character, he was selfish, remorseless, and utterly charming, but also a complete bastard at the same time. He was neither truly good, nor truly bad, he isn't the kind of character that would always do the right thing, but rather the right thing for Jack Winter. Having said that you could see especially towards the end that he cared for Pete a lot, she gave him a reason to live. Pete was also a good character, although she didn't have Jacks twists, turns and contradictions, she was still interesting. We saw the book through her eyes, and so was introduced to the different elements of the Black through her. What I liked about their relationship was that in most cases it was Pete, the female protagonist, coming to Jacks rescue. She was a fierce protector, even when trying to save Jack from himself. Although there isn't really a romance per se between the two, you can see that Pete loves Jack, and probably has since she was 16, but it isn't said out right, it is more a feeling you get from the actions and thoughts that she has, as for Jack I think he also felt the same. I imagine that the romance element will grow through out the series.

The writing style might not be to everyones taste, I thought it quite lyrical, it uses a lot of metaphors and can be quite abstract, but for me how she wrote this was wonderful and absorbing. I think that it adds to the air of being somewhere out side the normal world and helps to create this shroud of darkness and ambivalence that surround not only the Black, but also Jack's life.

So I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and for those who like their books dark. Also people who like dangerous heroes will also find someone truly dangerous in Jack Winters.

I actually got this book from the library but it is one that I am going to buy as for me it is definitely a keeper.