Friday, September 2, 2011

On Teenage Witches: A Review of Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Dime Store Magic is the third book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, but the first with Paige as the narrator. The previous two books focus on Elena, a werewolf. The first question I usually ask with these types of series is "Does order matter?" In this case, I would say yes. You need to at least have read book two, Stolen, for this one to make sense. And you need to have read Bitten for Stolen to make sense. You can find my review of Stolen  HERE

This book focuses on a Paige, a coven witch, and her struggle to retain custody over her thirteen-year-old ward, Savannah. Savannah was the daughter of a witch who practiced dark magic and fraternized with many supernaturals whom the coven considers highly undesirable. One such undesirable, a sorcerer named Kristoff Nast, shows up claiming to be Savannah's father. Paige struggles with nasty rumors, her coven's prejudices, and outright attacks from various parties, as well as winning over the trust and affection of her ward.

Dime Store Magic was kind of slow going for me. Partly because I've been insanely busy, and partly because it has a pretty slow moving plot. I don't at all mean to imply that it was boring, because I found it quite entertaining, just that is isn't as lightening fast as your typical fantasy novel. I really enjoyed the details about witches and sorcerers and they're history, the process of spell work, and Paiges quest for lost magic in ancient grimoires.

The part of this book that I liked the most, however, was the character building and the relationships. Paige is pretty young (23?) and untried, and not physically tough at all. She certainly wants to be a stronger witch with more offensive magic, but that's something she has to work very hard at. Furthermore, offensive magic is against the rules of the coven. Added to this, she's trying to figure out how to raise a teenage girl. Paige and I are of a similar age group, so I found myself imagining what I would do if asked to care for someone like Savannah. The conclusion I came to was that the task would be herculean. But Paige does her best, and she does start to make some genuine emotional connections with Savannah.

The romantic interest of the book is Lucas Cortez, a lawyer working on Paige's case. His strengths, like Paige's, are more intellectual than physical. He's smart, articulate, and a bit of a nerd. I thought they were a good match. Although it isn't a romance novel with a happily-ever-after ending, I was satisfied that something meaningful was happening there.

So in sum, while it took me a little longer than anticipated to finish this book, I really enjoyed it. It has a different tone from Bitten or Stolen, and in my opinion that was a positive thing. 4.5 stars.

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