Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells

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Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: Book 3 and Magical Enforcement Officer Kate Prospero is back, this time finding herself in the midst of a gang war. What would be an exciting, fitting finale to a trilogy is all the more exciting when we realise this may not be the end!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Orbit
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0356503004

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Time has moved on since Cursed Moon. Kate's ex-lover, the devastatingly hunky but dangerous John Volos has been inaugurated as Babylon's mayor and Kate's neighbourly old witch Baba has moved in with the Prosperos. Meanwhile Kate has delivered on her promise, persuading the MEA wizard Mez to teach her brother Danny how to cook clean potions. Away from everyday life, trouble is brewing. Two opposing gang members have been creatively killed which could mean a tit-for-tat rumble or it could be out-and-out gang war. Compared to the peril this could bring, the journalist poking around in Kate's forbidden past is almost a side-show.

American fantasy author Jaye Wells has once again hit the urban fantasy pay lode with this, the third of her Prospero's War books. Kate finds herself on the threshold of a gang war with such far reaching effects that many of the regular faces have fled town, including a favourite of mine: Aphrodite Johnson the hermaphrodite priest and brothel owner. (No relation and, believe me, I'd know if s/he was!) This is no reason to despair though; there are enough people and other beings around for Jaye to do us proud. We may lose a hermaphrodite but we gain a deadly shape shifter.

By the way, I'll insert the usual plea here: you’d be doing yourself out of so much if you didn't read these novels in the right order.

Back at home Kate has a lot to contend with as her MEA partner Morales presses his suit while Kate continues her love/hate relationship with Volos. Volos may not have been as caring as he should, blackmailing the poor lass and more besides (just wait!), but will Kate's feelings for him rekindle? Morales/Volos, Volos/Morales, which way will she jump or will she choose someone not previously on the menu… like a certain school teacher for instance? (Trust me – I spoil nothing here!)

Although Kate does have a love life, male readers needn't fear; Jaye doesn't do mushy. The love dilemma is one of the sub-plots to accompany the edge of the seat twists and curved balls that Jaye hurls at us in other areas. For instance we learn more about the death of Kate's mother, an event that shattered Kate's life in many ways and the reason that, years later, she still refuses to cook even clean magic.

If proof were needed that Jaye develops story lines and characters well it's that these books don't have to be bang-crash-demon-blood throughout to maintain our interest. Kate and the team are people we've come to side with and care about. Therefore their discussions and personal issues are just as interesting and they're presented without dropping into the easy option of soap-esque plotlines.

Talking of personal issues (the question of whether Kate's kid brother Danny has gone feral aside) Gardner, Kate's boss has more reason to fear the gang conflict than most. Not only could it destroy the whole of Babylon (only?!), Gardner has some fatal past history with the person behind it.

As usual the MEA and fantasy world of dirty magic corresponds beautifully to the DEA and real world drug problem becoming once again as much a comment on modern society's underbelly as it is about an imagined city (in an unpreachy way).

I'll finish with a little reassurance for MEA addicts. As we smile and shut the book on a very satisfying ending, there are rumours that the MEA's adventures were never meant to be a trilogy, even the author refers to them as 'a series'. So, as we listen to the faint, distant ticking sound of the possibility of unravelling ends, one question remains and that question may not be if the series' survivors return, but when?

(Thank you so much, Orbit, for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If we assume you've already read Prospero's War Book 1 and Book 2, then for those who like urban fantasy with a bit of an edge we recommend The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) by Mur Lafferty. If you prefer your urban fantasy gritty British it try The Wolves of London - The Obsidian Heart Trilogy (Book 1) by Mark Morris.

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Buy Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells at


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