Urban fantasy romance novel Defensive Magic is the third book in the Lost Library series by Kate Baray, but is cleverly written to be a standalone adventure with an established cast of exciting and loveable supernaturally-charged characters.
Giving the classic werewolf theme a reboot, Baray crafts a rock-and-rolling tale, as John Braxton, of the Lycan persuasion, has his place as the Texas Alpha in his Pack challenged after he returns from Europe to his homeland with Lizzie Smith in tow, his mortal lover, known as his mate, who must now keep up in her parallel existence in the ‘real world’ as well as John’s.
When she finds a note that threatens and insults her, their story becomes charged with danger as the Inter-Pack Policing Cooperative (IPPC) steps up operations, and Lizzie is faced with spell-casters and Lycan attackers who want her gone from The Pack for various political reasons. And Worth, a powerful spell-caster, and her “real-life nemesis” is on the rise to have her removed. Lizzie’s own past and magical powers will come into play.
With echoes of True Blood with Lycan shapeshifters (not werewolves as such) instead of vampires, and definitely a little Walking Dead with the tech and feel, plus a hunky hero in the shape of John, it’s not hard to see why Baray has quite a following for these books. They are sexy, slick and just enough rough ‘n ready to pull readers into the world she has created.
The setting of Texas, with Idaho, and other local magic cultures thrown in, pulls from (Native) American lore just enough to add nice details that make Austin-based Baray’s writing that little bit different, while still using the tropes and rules that supernatural fans expect from fictional werewolf/Lycan culture, plus touches of magic woven into everyday life. Lycans haven’t been this sexy since Underworld’s PVC-clad pack, with guns and dogfights thrown into the mix for those that like a nice bit of action in their romance, with guns described in weight and model, and gory flesh and fur scraps dished out on the page to really get into the scenes.
With a great cover that really inspires the look of John and the feel of the writing, Baray, who previously won a Fantasy prize in the SPR Full Moon Awards for the first book in the series, The Lost Library, really knows that presentation of this series is all.
The book’s pace is just right, and keeps readers churning along with plenty of visual description and dialogue in the right amounts to get the imagination flowing. Without spoiling the tale, the book turns out to be quite a sad, dark episode for Lizzie and John, but Defensive Magic will have Lycan fiction fans howling for more.
Defensive Magic is a good place to start to discover John and Lizzie’s world, and then you’ll have the luxury of going back and getting all the backstory in books one and two, with book four on the horizon. A really entertaining series of books for magic fans of all ages looking for a new kick that has just about a bit of all the good stuff available in generous measure. Recommended.