Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Left Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins

Recently I read a fun little UF/PR excursion called Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins. That its sequel is named Left Hand Magic is not only unsurprising it’s quite logical. The titles refer to the two types of m performed by the Kymerans, the six fingered, cat-eyed humans who form the dominant population in Manhattan’s magical borough; Golgotham. Right hand magic is considered ‘good’ and is practised by the series’ love interest; Hexe. Left hand magic is the ‘bad’ type and the book is fittingly named, as the threat in it comes from champions of the left hand magic path.

Artist Tate Eresby and her partner Hexe have settled down into life together in Golgotham. One of the effects of Tate’s recent move and the events of Right Hand Magic have caused Golgotham to be brought into sharper focus from the community outside of the borough and it has become a trendy place for cashed up hipsters to hang out. A confrontation between a group of bullying fraternity boys and an angry leprechaun develops into a full scale riot and two groups rise to prominence out of the incident.

One is a pro-human group calling itself Sons of Adam and the other is a militant magical group that want to remove Golgotham’s current council, known as GoBOO. The second group is headed by Hexe’s violently anti human Uncle Esau. Without meaning to Tate becomes involved and people associated with her start being killed off. Tate’s on someone’s hit list and if she, Hexe and Hexe’s obnoxious familiar Scratch don’t find out who it is they won’t be the only ones who wind up dead.

After having introduced the concept and the main characters in Right Hand Magic there was less exposition needed in Left Hand Magic, so this was a welcome change, as I felt it was overdone in Right Hand Magic. Nancy Collins seems to like it, because she does still do it, but not to the same extent. I didn’t feel as much like I was reading a visitor’s guidebook as I did with the first book in the series. Hexe and Tate’s relationship now that it’s solid also doesn’t move as much into paranormal romance territory as it did in Right Hand Magic. Teenage werecat Lukas only has a cameo in this, but Scratch does appear more frequently, and he is a highlight. His love/hate relationship with Tate’s Boston Terrier pup; Beanie, was a particular highlight for me.

Left Hand Magic is a solid followup to Right Hand Magic, and while the book has more of a final feel to it that RHM did, I’d still like to see it continue and hope that we get more than two books out of the Golgotham concept, because I feel the author can do a lot more with it.

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