Wicked Magic, by Margot de Klerk
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
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Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Wicked Magic, a gripping Urban Fantasy novel by Margot de Klerk.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Set in Oxford, England, Wicked Magic follows Nathan Delacroix, a socially awkward vampire hunter in training. When he saves a young girl from two thuggish men with dark magic, he’s puzzled as to why she has a ‘bird in her aura.’ Even more confusing is the mysterious knife he finds linked to powerful dark mages known only as The Sahir.
As Nathan’s eighteenth birthday looms closer, he faces his initiation to become a true hunter apprentice. However, Nathan is no longer sure he wants to be a hunter, deep in doubt over how he would protect humanity when he consorts with witches and vampires.
With dark Sahir magic continuing to surface in the streets of Oxford, Nathan and friends are pulled into situations that endanger their lives. Someone is siding with the Sahir mages, bringing trouble to Oxford, but who could it be?
Of the characters involved, five took centre stage for me, each making the story memorable in their own way.
Nathan Delacroix is a socially awkward vampire hunter in training, his life ruled by martial arts practice and magical affairs. He is shown to be particularly sensitive to magic, his skin itching whenever he encounters powerful wards, as well as being highly observant. Throughout the story, he proved to be a firm and devoted friend, standing up for anyone no matter if they were supernatural or human. Nathan was the kind of person to always do what he thought was right, even if that meant breaking with tradition in ways that would be punished. He is definitely a character to root for and his story hooked me from start to finish.
Cynthia, Nathan’s girlfriend, seemed just as socially awkward. An athletic and kind girl, her supernatural status is kept secret until a good third of the way into the story (no spoilers here, I promise.) At times, Cynthia seemed a little unsure of herself, not feeling like she measured up to Nathan and his friends given their positions in the supernatural sphere of the world. However, Cynthia was a devoted and caring person and lent the story much heart where it needed it.
Monica, Nathan’s long time witch friend, was undeniably one of my favourite characters. Full of energy, impatient, and impulsive, she grabbed my attention from first meeting and refused to let go. Having lost her parents to a vampire attack, I came to empathise with her character and could therefore understand her distrust of vampires in general. Monica was crafty with magic and particularly passionate about wards. She was always trying to solve everyone-else’s problems, doing her best to protect those closest to her for fear she would lose them too.
Adrian Delacroix, Nathan’s hunter turned vampire uncle, was something-else. His humour was the first thing which struck me about him: he was always able to lighten a tense moment and made me smile and laugh, which immediately warmed me to him. He also proved to be caring and loyal to family, something I wasn’t expecting from a vampire member of a hunter family. Additionally, there was a low grade sadness to him at times, which made me wonder if he regretted having been turned into a vampire, if he longed to return to his former life.
Finally, we get to Benjamin Delacroix, Nathan’s father and vampire hunter. He first appeared as a stern and unaffectionate man, whose coldness toward his son made me wonder if he liked Nathan at all. Benjamin seemed chiefly concerned with the family reputation throughout the story, rather than with what Nathan needed in his life. Furthermore, Benjamin’s values conflicted with Adrian’s throughout the story, creating a great amount of tension between the two brothers. Overall, I thought I would never warm to him until the author proved me wrong at the end. For once, I saw a glimmer of the concerned father underneath, of the man behind the hunter façade, who cared deeply for his son and would stop at nothing to protect him.
Wicked Magic has many positive elements to it, some of which I’ve included below.
- I immediately felt pulled into the author’s world. It was amazing and felt so real in an oddly relatable kind of way.
- The characters are each striking in their own unique way. You get an immediate sense of their personality.
- The author gives just enough description of people and places to allow you to imagine them without going overboard. This is a fine balance and the author has mastered it.
- The close third person narration worked well for this story: the perfect choice for maintaining intimacy with the main character, while allowing us to feel the other character’s emotions as well.
- There was a good balance of summary narration and dramatic scenes, which allowed the book to flow well, alongside its engaging writing style.
- The story has a light and friendly style of humour interspersed throughout, which lent the story a charming quality.
- I particularly liked the scene with the bonfire at the beach, where everyone threw their runed tablets in. It felt symbolic and deeply meaningful.
- The tension building was excellent, complimenting the gripping action scenes involving various supernatural beings.
- I loved how over the course of the story, Nathan’s relationship with his parents went from strict and almost unbearable, to eventually being one of genuine understanding and support. I feel that the gradual transformation of the relationship was done well and deserves recognition.
The only negative in my eyes was the climax. It felt a bit lacklustre at the end and was quickly over, whereas I was expecting a bit more of a fight and struggle.
During my reading, two particular quotes stood out to me.
1) ‘Maybe everybody was capable of being a monster.’
2) ‘Doubts and fears are part of being human.’
Overall, Wicked Magic proved to be a gripping urban fantasy novel, full of supernatural creatures, parental expectations, and secrets.
My rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of Young Adult Urban Fantasy with a heavy dose of the supernatural and just a hint of teen romance.
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