You can't judge a book by its cover--granted. However, a really great cover did entice me to pick up Dirty Magic from the shelf of my local bookstore. Once I read the back of the book and flipped through a few random pages to get a sense of the writing style, I knew I'd be taking the book home with me. After reading a few chapters, I knew I'd be picking up the rest of the series (however long it went) and also adding the author's name to my list of "always keep on the radar; buy anything written by".
Jaye Wells has created a world (continued in Cursed Moon and Deadly Spells) with a tremendous amount of depth and a wealth of enticing characters. Magic exists, but unfortunately can be as addictive and detrimental as drugs. The lead character is Kate Prospero, a magic adept and police officer. As the trilogy is named "Prospero's War", you know you'll be delving into her life for at least the duration of the series, and you won't be disappointed. However, even the supporting characters are so well fleshed out that it's difficult to think of them as "supporting". I wanted to learn so much more about Kate's colleagues, and I think there's at least a novel's worth of exploration for each and every character Wells devised. And that's only if the author gets bored of the world of Babylon, Ohio. She could do a series featuring any one of the members of the Magical Enforcement Agency task force and I'd be all in, each and every time!
Both the author and the main character are women. The only reason this is noteworthy is because it appears that women are still given short shrift in the world of fantasy/science fiction literature, even after so many strong female characters and so many incredibly talented female authors.It is my hope that the works created by brilliant authors such as Jaye Wells help to dissolve this issue once and for all. Personally, I didn't consider NOT purchasing Dirty Magic because of the gender of the author nor of the hero. It was an intriguing premise set in a fascinating world--that's why I bought it. I have no reservations about recommending these novels to anyone interested in supernatural fiction, urban fantasy, or crime stories, simply because the writing is "too feminine"--whatever that might mean. It is flat out a great series written by an incredible author.
I don't pre-order many books these days, simply because the "to be read" stack on my bookshelf has grown so large that it is now spawning little offspring stacks. But in this case, I bought Cursed Moon and pre-ordered Deadly Spells at the same time, because I knew I'd be anxious to read the third installment ASAP after finishing the second. Jaye published the novella Fire Water between books two and three as an e-book. I purchased that one as well; it was a nice diversion while waiting for the third book's release date (but it made the wait for a longer adventure that much more difficult!)
I'm now making my way through some of the author's other series, and what I've read so far is as engrossing as this one. However, "Prospero's War" will always be the series that introduced Jaye Wells to my bookshelves, and so I'll always feel a special affinity for the gritty world of Babylon, Ohio.