Review: Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong (Women of the Otherworld #3)

Paige Winterbourne is a witch. Not a Wiccan, the kind of witch with actual magical powers. Between her day job in IT, meetings with her coven and secret magical experiments she already had her hands full when she took on Savannah, the orphan daughter of the dark witch, Eve (who was killed in the previous book). She struggles with the balance between encouraging Savannah to learn to use the power that is her birthright and teaching her to be a good, moral person. When a powerful half-demon named Leah seeks to claim custody of Savannah, Paige is prepared to fight to protect her, even if it costs her position in the coven, her home and maybe even her life. She enlists the help of Lucas, a sorcerer lawyer who has a few tricks up his sleeve that could help them if Paige can bring herself to trust him.

As with the Mercy Thompson books, the cover of this novel has almost nothing to do with the story. At no point does Paige sit around on the floor of a stone church (or is it a tomb?) in stockings and heels dangling a pentacle, and “It's not just about vampires any more” is an odd tag line for a series that has so far not been about vampires at all (the previous two books having centred on werewolves). I suppose the mean the urban fantasy genre in general, though there were some pretty popular urban fantasy books centred around other sorts of supernatural beasties around by then (Storm Front by Jim Butcher, Moon Called by Patricia Briggs etc.). Whatever. That's apparently not a sexy vampire leg.

I've read the Women of the Otherworld books out of order, skipping several in the middle to get to the ones narrated by Elena, the werewolf (Bitten, Stolen, Broken and Frostbitten), but now I'm finally getting around to reading the others in between. Though very different from Elena, Paige is an interesting and likeable character too. I felt drawn into her world, and sympathised with the frustrations and joys of motherhood (not that I've parented a teenager yet, and certainly not one with superpowers). There's a little bit of romance in this book too, but it's very different from the bond between Elena and Clay (and isn't made problematic by a creepy rape metaphor the way their relationship is, which is nice).

The story is fairly fast paced and exciting, featuring witches, ghosts, zombies, telekinesis and sorcerer cabals. It's pretty much a supernatural smorgasbord. There are characters worth getting to know and a believable, engaging plot. It's a solid inclusion in a clever, woman-centred series.

Published: 2007

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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