Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Magic Man by Marie Treanor

TITLE: Magic Man
AUTHOR: Marie Treanor
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 68k)
GENRE: Futuristic erotic romance
COST: $6.00

In a world where a virus has forced the population into segregation, Catriona craves a little excitement in her boring, low-risk life. With the help of a friend, she escapes into Old Town to sing at a pub, where the people are colorful and the enigmatic man known only as the Magician captivates her. Though Magic is attracted to her, he knows there’s something wrong about her, something that might bode ill for the people he’s trying to protect. Little does he realize her family owns the company responsible for disseminating the vaccine to the high riskers, but Cat is only just starting to realize the extent of her family’s corruption…

My blurb doesn’t do this book justice. Neither does the one on the publisher’s site. It was interesting enough to catch my attention, and the excerpt good enough, but this has been sitting on my TBR pile since last September, and I’m kicking myself for waiting this long to read it.

The story takes place in Edinburgh in the future, when a virus thirty years earlier has completely changed social structure. People are split into three groups – low, middle, and high risk. Low risk people have all the money and power, middle risk tend to be in service positions, and high riskers live in what’s called Old Town, quarantined there without hope or futures for the sake of everybody else’s safety. Cat is divorced and bored out of her mind, so she takes a risk to go into Old Town for fun – mainly, to sing in public. By day, she’s a lawyer for the company that creates and sells the vaccine for the virus, but it’s not a life she loves, not at all. In Old Town, the people are colorful, most of them going by titles than names – Magician, Angel, Hacker, Biker, etc. To her, they seem to be really living, because they live under the specter of death every day. She is particularly fascinated by Magician, a gorgeous, enigmatic charmer. He seems equally taken with her, but he’s more wary than she is, knowing there’s more to what she appears than meets the eye. When Cat’s ex-husband goes missing, she’s told Magician can help her. She goes to him, and so their romance begins, because ultimately, they just can’t keep their hands off each other.

I have not loved a hero this much in ages. Magic is confident and yet endearingly insecure at times (like when he tells his best friend Hacker that girls like Cat could never be interested in a guy like him), gorgeous and brave, a rebel intent on finding out the truth. He’s the bad boy who’s had no chances and is making the best of a bad lot, and he is utterly, completely irresistible. Cat is, thankfully, a worthy match for him. She’s strong and honorable, especially when she finds out things are not exactly as they seem with the life she’s always known. Her loneliness gets banished by the people of Old Town, and as the reader, I was glad for her.

My adoration for this started from the beginning. The author paints the world she’s created in lush, broken down vibrancy. It felt like stepping into the middle of gypsies and harlequins, with a show to be had on every street corner. The desire and attraction between Cat and Magic sparks from the very first. When he asks her to dance, I knew in that one little scene it was going to be a fantastic ride. I wasn’t disappointed. They come together in an explosion, and for the most part, the book carries it through to the end.

If I have any complaints at all about the book – and they’re minor – it’s that I found the sections from the other characters POV not very meaningful in the grand scheme of things. There’s a few from Hacker’s, and Cat’s ex-husband, as well as both of her parents, and while it does fill in a bit of the background, it also felt like it was giving away some of the more suspenseful elements of the plot. In Hacker’s case, well, all I’ll say is that I feared the worst, and leave it at that.

But when I can finish a book and the last line makes my heart leap as much as the rest of the story, it’s a keeper. I’m going to be purchasing this one in print to put on my keeper shelf. And I’m definitely looking out for more work by this author.


9/10 – Lush, with a kaleidoscopic feel, absolutely compulsive


10/10 – I fell in love with him, almost from the first, broken yet strong, charming yet enigmatic


8/10 – Strong and honorable

Entertainment value

9/10 – One of the better erotic romances I’ve read in a long time

World building

9/10 – The world of Old Town leapt off the page, the outside world not nearly as vivid



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