Hexomancy by Michael R. Underwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley, I'm able to wolf down my fix of one of the most interesting Urban Fantasies to come along in a while, and do it with a smile and well before the actual publish date. Am I squeeing? Yes, yes I am. I feel like I just got a powerup on nostalgia, just like Ree, and my geek is ON.
There's nothing quite like this series. The rules are well defined, the characters are interesting, and the utter truckload of geeky nostalgia plows through me like the power of the dark side. Or is that Hexomancy? Hmm.
For those who have read the first two novels and the novella that sets the stage for this one, kudos. You've got all the props and the asshattery of a certain Eastwood under wraps. If you're just missing the novella, then you're asking yourself why the Strega (luck magic witches) are cursing him out and destroying Grognack's cool geek bar in the process, demanding that he die for crimes that haven't been committed yet. Can anyone not see this foreshadowing? No? Okay. No problem.
Now we enter in to this novel, resplendent in magic right out of WoD Mage: Ascension mage class designed to find and exploit weak spots in people, buildings, tools and generally being practically unstoppable. Pit these greek fates against the great wall of geek, and we've got a delightful action tale with excellent pacing, character development, and a truckload of geeky references. We even get the hint of a better question as to the previous novella's foreshadowing. It's very solid.
My only complaint is that the geeky nostalgia is headed too much into the huge franchise land. It's fine to use the MCU/DC, Star Wars, Star Trek, Magic: The Gathering, and wonderful Buffy, but what I really want is a bit of the deeper geek. You know, more Doctor Who than just the psychic paper. A real exploration of the badassery of the Leverage characters, or, especially, an all out geekfest of cyberpunk. Mr. Underwood has definitely played upon all of these already, to be sure, but here's my problem:
I WANT MORE. Like ravenous beast with a maw like a caldera, I want to consume an endless supply of these novels.
That being said, I loved the character developments, the new potentials for great mischief, and Drake. He's like a door to another universe just walking around and being extra polite to everyone. Fun stuff.
I totally recommend this, dude, but please, do me a favor and be sure you've read the others. It will stand up on its own, but only technically. The joys are really in the backstory and development.
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