Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells


Welcome to book two of the Sabina Kane series, AKA "Everyone Wants to Kill Sabina." I bought the whole series when it was on sale in the Kindle store because if there's one thing I can't say no to, it's a bargain. This series is kind of like a cross between Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series and the old school Anita Blake books; it features an old skool leather-clad, pseudo-goth heroine who eschews the girly in life while racking up super-ability after super-ability as she navigates her way through a world populated with weres, faeries, and more.

It's just a *little* exhausting as a reader, tbh.

This series isn't the best-written and the character is definitely a Mary Sue, but it's still kind of addictive. I'm a sucker for early 2000s paranormals that wallow in their Hot Topic aesthetic, okay? Plus, Gighul might be my favorite side character in the history of side characters. I'm so glad he and his unusual-- ahem-- anatomy found love in this book.

So let's talk about some of the weirdness in Sabina Kane thus far:

🦇 Our girl is collecting superpowers like they're Pokemon cards. Not only is she immune to apples (utter anathema to vampire-kind), she's also got super-rare cthonic powers. Like, girl. Are you a first edition holographic Charizard of the specialverse? You can't have EVERYTHING.

🦇 I can't get over how vampires are weak against apples. An apple a day keeps the vampire away in this universe. Our girl uses bullets packed with apple cider vinegar and stakes made out of apple wood. I don't know why or where this idea came from but it is RIDIC.

🦇 Gighul. I love this demon, okay? He is literally the best. Whether he's shopping on QVC or hooking up with demons when he ought to be fighting in the ring, he is the OG. Spinoff series, please.

🦇 Not only do vampires drink wine and cocktails infused with blood, they also smoke it from hookahs. Whaaaaaaat. Fang-twenty.

🦇 Demon fight clubs. And yes, the first rule is that you don't talk about them.

🦇 I was only lukewarm about Adam and I'm totally ready to kick him to the curb for Slade/Shade.

Even though this series comes across as a little unpolished, it's still fun. I haven't read paranormal books like this in a while, and reading them always makes me think fondly back to my college days, when I devoured easy reading like this as an escape from my all-nighters. There's just something nice about being able to kick back and let your brain go on vacation while you immerse yourself in a strange world that's so over-the-top, it becomes almost endearing in its WTFery.

3 out of 5 stars

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