Friday, 16 August 2013

Review: The New York Magician

The New York Magician
The New York Magician by Jacob Zimmerman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a series of loosely connected stories rather than a novel (and it's also short). Having said that, the main character, the setting, and the events are well done, and I enjoyed it.

I picked up a very small number of minor mechanical errors in the editing, which is unusually good.

The author seems to be trying to position the protagonist as an antihero at one point, but he really isn't (something I'm happy about). He does his best, at some personal cost, to keep various supernatural entities from causing too much trouble for the magical or nonmagical community. He is one of only a few who can see them and hear them, and has collected a number of favours, contacts and magical items in the course of his activities.

This collection of devices is probably the weakest point of the book, inasmuch as it becomes a bit of an equivalent of Batman's utility belt (he even keeps it on something very like a utility belt). A lot of his gathering of the objects and connections happens off-screen, which means that there's potential for deus ex machina. To the author's credit, he mostly avoids this, and the protagonist has to be clever and courageous to overcome his obstacles.

It isn't my new favourite thing, I think because I didn't have quite enough time to become fully invested in the character or in any one plotline. I definitely liked it, though, and would read a sequel.

I picked it up because Amazon kept recommending it to me as someone who'd bought Matt Posner's School of the Ages books. It's also urban fantasy set in New York, and also pretty well-written, so I'd call that a good recommendation.

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