Rag and Bone

(Rag and Bone #1)

It’s amazing what people throw away…

Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicked Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

"I write the world as I want it to be. I write, and it is."

I loved K.J. Charle's Magpie trilogy and the introduction into that magic-focused Historical society. As a fan of course I'm happy she's continued in that world, despite ending the trilogy with Lucien and Stephen Day. They have remained my favorites, but it was fun to run into Ben and Jonah's tense situation in Jackdaw and now two new characters in 'Rag and Bone.'

The story touches the others since Stephen Day is in this one a decent amount, as well as some of the other major players of the magic police force like Esther. For the first part of the story they just annoy me with frustrating bureaucracy, but they save face later with a clever twist and solution. It seems sometimes people seem to be misunderstanding when they're actually getting it in the first place.

You also see a small glimpse of Jonah, and the beginning of his story/escape ends up coinciding with a major development with this book. It seems the author is setting these up right before Stephen Day departs the team permanently.

It's intriguing how each person gets their unique magical ability, and I like how Crispin's power is something that can be conceived as dark magic but is a powerful, unique force which can be used for good if he doesn't stray into Warlock territory. The solution in the end fitted that perfectly.

On the negative side, the characters just aren't as addictive. Crispin is a sweet guy but I do wish he had a stronger backbone. Sometimes I wanted to slap him and make him asset himself. Sure, Stephen had a submissive streak but if he believed in something, he'd say it. Stuttering can be an endearing trait, but Crispin seemed to weak willed to hold the book together by himself. Ned is a cool guy as well, but again just kind of there. I like them both, they just don't stand out beyond their magical abilities or potential.

It was also in the controversy of mixed race relationship, but this was touched upon heavier in the mini prequel, A Queer Trade.

It's nice to see the author continue in her unique world with fresh blood, so I'll keep reading the series if it continues, even if the originals still remain my favorites.

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