My Rating: I’ll go there again! (4/5)
I had so much fun reading this fast-paced futuristic mystery thriller science fiction novel.
Virgin is a park ranger in the last natural space in the world. Birrimun Park is her home, her sanctuary. She maintains order and protects both the natural habitat with its unique flora and fauna, and the tourists. Her father, a powerful influence in her life, was a determined advocate for the natural world, until he died under suspicious circumstances.
One evening, returning from her rounds in the park, she disturbs some clandestine, inexplicable activities, setting off a chain of events that will change her life, and her perspective. Nate Sixkiller, U.S. Marshall, is brought in to help Virgin uncover and contain suspected drug runners. She resents his help, but learns to live with his meddling as she stumbles around the megacity, into and out of danger and the dens of various gang leaders.
There’s definitely a lot going on in this book. Lots of danger, lots of action, lots of suspense, and what feels like a huge cast of supporting characters. The natural world mingles with the futuristic urban environment, while the practical, logical everyday gets tangled up in spiritualism that is more than belief systems.
One thing the futuristic setting lacked was alien, futuristic technology. Although some of the technology has clearly advanced beyond our own (as evidenced by the electromagnetic field that shields the park), quite a lot of will be familiar to contemporary readers. For example, Virgin uses cell phones, has her apartment “bugged,” and uses a gun. On the other hand, the city itself felt futuristic and chaotic.
Not everything is perfect – there are some idiosyncrasies and gaps. The plot, the relationships are all unsubtle and predictable, but that didn’t bother me. I enjoyed the quick pace, the relationships, and the plot twists. I’m definitely looking forward to the next one, to see how Virgin deals with some of the reveals at the end of this one, and to see how the love triangle plays out.
If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced read about a crime story with futuristic and spiritual (think totem animals) elements, you may enjoy this one. You won’t have to think much, just hold on for the ride.
Dirty Magic is also about a female cop who fights illegal drug trafficking in a dark, chaotic city. In her case, Kate Prospero battles magic – brewed illegally, it contains contaminants and is highly addictive, and its trade has been eating away at the underbelly of her city. Determined to fight it, she lands in even hotter water as she join a task force of the Feds (the MEA, or Magic Enforcement Agency) on a much bigger case involving wizards and werewolves.