When I found this story on NetGalley I thought “yeah, might be something like Dresden, so why not try it out“. Since it was a “request” not a “read now” option I went straight to Amazon, downloaded a sample and started reading right away. By the end of the sample and few inpatient hours of hoping for a NetGalley email, I already owned a copy of this book and continued reading.
So yes, I did receive a copy of this book from NetGalley together with the other volumes, but I also own it ;).
Strange Magic (Yancy Lazarus #1)
by James A. Hunter
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
You might wonder what made me like this story so much? The thing is, I don’t really know ;). Well yes, it does have this not-very-nice and not-perfect hero who gets his beating and has to save the world (I might have a weakness for that), but it’s more likely that it was the right book at the right time. It happens, right?
Anyway, “Strange Magic” is the first volume of Yancy Lazarus stories – a wizard who has a really bad day. He wouldn’t get involved in all this crazy demon slaying business if he wasn’t already in the middle of it. Now he has to prove his innocence (more or less) and save a bunch of people. With a help of his favorite gun, lots of spell power and some well-armed gang members he’ll have to face the beasts and something worse…
It is a fast and entertaining read. Maybe not perfect, but I enjoyed it well enough to be sure I’ll read more of these stories. There are some nasty descriptions that almost make you feel like you’re right in the middle of it all, some fun gun shows, and even a car chase… with monsters. It’s one of those books that you’ll enjoy reading, but it might be forgettable in the long run.
I really liked how Yancy’s magically enhanced jacket and gun – he relied on them just as much as on the VIS (the magical force). I liked his affinity for jazz, even if I’m not a fan of this type of music. And I liked the setting, both the “real-world” and the fey (well, they did have a dragon!). Actually, I might’ve liked the fey world a bit more and I’d love to read more about it.
What put me a bit off was the language, or rather all the shortcuts and slang. At first, I was a bit lost, but I got used to these. Still, it might be off-putting for some people. Oh and don’t expect huge world-building. It’s mainly an action story with some background and important information here and there.
If you’re waiting for the next Dresden or Iron Druid or maybe Constantine story this book might be something to check out. Maybe the first one isn’t perfect, but it was entertaining and I had some good time reading about this supernatural anti-hero character and I have a feeling these books will get better.
As a bonus I’ll add a review of the prequel to this series – a short story which presents you how Lazarus discovered, or rather awakened his powers in the morbid surroundings of Vietnamese jungle.
Flashback: Siren Song (Yancy Lazarus #1.5) by James A. Hunter
Surrounded by dangerous terrain, enemy troops and deadly song that seems to haunt them and even kill them Yancy and the rest of his group are trying to find the source of the deadly music. The strange thing is he can actually see it and follow the bespelling voices. Not without problems, as it seems to hurt like hell and break his mind bit by bit.
I actually liked this short story even more than the first book. It has a good amount of character development, the atmosphere and danger of their situation are well described and we get to know a bit more about Greg.
Well done James A. Hunter!