- File Size: 623 KB
- Print Length: 158 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Modern Parlance (May 30, 2013)
- Publication Date: May 30, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00D4BAFK2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The New York Magician Kindle Edition
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One may get the sense of a serialized set of stories, but with that having been said, the stories flow into and build on each other seamlessly, giving us more insight into the worlds of gods and monsters that Michel inherited from his canny grandmother. Instead of taking the easy approach of leaning hard on American God tropes or the Lovecraftian meta-mythology Charles Stross built in his Laundry books, Zimmerman has built his own mythology. His protagonist, this hard-boiled man on a mission whose impressive arsenal, is almost, but not quite, a match for his inhuman adversaries.
Thus, we get the wit of a detective novel, the firepower of a good action movie, and a hell of a lovingly detailed city for the plot, protagonist, and characters to romp through. What's not to love?
So Michel ends up meeting everyone from Baba Yaga (dishing drinks in a trendy bar), Cthulhu (hangin' in the sewers), Malsumis (an evil Algonquian god), Hapi (the friendly god of the Nile), and Shu (Hapi's much less friendly brother). He also encounters plenty of other interesting characters, though a bit more mundane -- firemen with an unusual haunting, the Jamaican arms dealers who sell him guns, and Kevin, a big Irish immigrant who saves Michel's bacon when he gets in over his head.
Michel himself makes a pretty interesting, distinctive character -- almost always found wearing his custom enchanted Burberry coat, bandolier, pocket watch, ancient spearhead, and Desert Eagle handgun, just about his only special talents are his ability to see and talk to supernatural creatures and his lightning-quick wits. Even the few spells he can cast are tricky work-arounds using special magical items, along with the energy generated by a blast or two from his Desert Eagle. He functions as something of a hard-boiled private eye combined with a medieval knight, always looking to improve things -- sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally -- for the supernatural entities of NYC, as well as the everyday citizens who need him.
It's an incredible book, wildly charismatic and likable, with great glorious tons of action, excitement, mystery, humor, everything you want from great fantasy. It's completely steeped in the feel of New York City -- Zimmerman is a native of the City that Never Sleeps, and the description of the setting is close to perfect. This is perfect urban fantasy -- you couldn't separate the fantasy from the urban setting if you tried.
Characterization is a massive strong point -- yes, Michel is a great character, as I've already said, but everyone else we meet is a great character, too. Baba Yaga has the loneliness of someone far from home, the wisdom of someone incomparably ancient, and the cruelty of, well, Baba Yaga. Malsumis is an absolute bastard and yet still intensely likable. The djinn who can't stop switching bodies combines the desperation of someone who just wants someone he can talk to with inhuman intelligence and motives. Even Cthulhu manages to come across as someone who'd be fairly cool to have a beer with -- except for the whole "vastly monstrous elder god who will drive mankind insane and destroy the Earth" thing. The humans are just as unique and fascinating, too.
I'm putting this in the strongest possible terms, people. This is an outstanding book, and I think you should read it.
Then, about 1987, Glen Cook had a brilliant idea. What if you took a clone of Nero Wolfe and set him down in a country where magic worked, add dinosaurs and a whole bunch of mythical people? The result was the Garrett, P.I. series, which continues to this day.
Then someone got the idea, what if there was plenty of magic in this world we live in, but ,for some reason, we can't see it. It would be just as dangerous, so there would have to be some sort of police force to protect us from it. This is not an entirely new concept. Aleister Crowley was writing just that kind of story back in the nineteen twenties. What differed about the stories that emerged in the late nineties was the realization that such a police force would tend to limited in it's effectiveness by the rules it would have to follow and the corruption that would inevitably occur.
This means that there is room for the independent detective, who is not bound by the same rules, and is therefore able to work more freely.
Thus we have Harry Dresden and Harry Potter. Dresden works out of Chicago, and is a professional wizard, While Harry Potter is a young amateur working in England.
From the popularity of these characters, suddenly, we have a horde of smart alec, independent magical detectives working in a unlimited range of magical societies hidden in our mundane world.
How is it that we can have so many authors working in this new genre? Because the genre offers so many opportunities for fascinating plots and wonderful characters.
If you think the fad won't last, just look at what mystery writers have done with the idea of an ordinary police detective working for a large metropolitan police department. From Inspector Roderick Alleyn to Joe Friday to CSI Miami, the list is enormous and continues to grow.
This book is a worthy addition to the magical detective genre, and I look forward to many sequels.