Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge

Posted by Simcha 4:02 AM, under | 3 comments

While I like the urban fantasy genre, I’ve been having a hard time finding books within this genre that I actually enjoy, after having read everything by Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews and Charlaine Harris. So when a fellow blogger recommended Street Magic, by Caitlin Kittredge, I was happy to give it a try.

The last time Pete had seen Jack was when he had convinced her to join him in the cemetery to participate in a magical ceremony. Even though he was her older sister’s boyfriend, and Pete didn’t even believe in magic, she couldn’t resist any request from Jack Winter, and so she came. But despite her disbelief, something happened that night, something that brought forth a frightening creature from out of the crypt. A creature which killed Jack and left Pete mentally scarred.

Twelve years later, Pete has taken over in her father’s footsteps as a police officer and she is in search of a little girl who has gone missing. An anonymous tip leads Pete to Jack, whom she has believed to be dead all these year, and who is able to tell her exactly where to find the missing child. Tragically, the child has been badly damaged and is unable to tell the police what happened to her. When another child goes missing soon afterwards, Pete forces Jack to help her in solving this case.

But Jack is no longer the sunny, mischievous youth that Pete remembers. The years since that terrible event have turned him into a hard man who fights his ghosts with regular doses of heroin. But to save these children, Pete will do whatever she can, even if it means putting up with Jack’s inexplicable hatred of her and confronting her own ghosts from the past.

The description of Street Magic had sounded interesting and unique enough that I made an effort to get a hold of the book soon after hearing about it. And in the beginning it seemed like this could be a book that I would really enjoy. The first few chapters immediately drew me into the story and Jack and Pete seemed liked they would develop into really interesting characters. But unfortunately this didn’t happen and I never warmed up to the two protagonists.

Jack just turned out to be a jerk the whole book who repeatedly manipulated and used Pete for his own ends. And I couldn’t understand why Pete, a strong, smart and independent woman, was so solicitous of Jack and even sacrificed herself for him, when he had done absolutely nothing to deserve it. The two of them never even had a real relationship, other then Pete’s infatuation with Jack when she was sixteen, so I couldn’t understand their behavior towards each other through out the book. I also didn’t get any sense that the relationship between Pete and Jack progressed or developed at all, which I found very disappointing.

In addition, I felt that Street Magic would have been a much richer book if the author had included some colorful secondary characters, or even any secondary characters. I was hoping that Pete’s ex-fiance, who she argues with on the phone a few times, or her older sister, who blames Pete for Jack’s death, would make an appearance. But both of these characters remained shadowy figures in the sidelines, which I think was a big mistake as they could have added a lot to the story.

I was also disappointed with each of the fights that take place between Jack and Pete and their various attackers. While there was a certain amount of build up for each battle, the fights themselves would just fizzle out with the enemy getting killed in a very anti-climatic way. And I didn’t understand what the heck happened in the final battle, the one the whole story had been leading to.

So in conclusion, despite its strong start, I ultimately found Street Magic to be a disappointing and unsatisfying book and I’m unlikely to be tempted to pick up the sequel.


I am sorry you didn't enjoy the book. I think part of the fun for me was the banter and sarcastic comments between Jack and Pete.

I have heard from one person who read the second book that Jack was very disappointing. He never grows, that he is the same if not worse. I was thinking the author had lots of room to go with the growth of these characters and was hoping to see that. I have the second book, but I am curious to see how the characters pan out in it.

That's OK. I like to familiarize myself with the different authors that are out there anyways, even if I don't necessarily enjoy their books. I think this book had a lot of potential but the author just didn't develop the characters or the story enough to make it really good.

I too like to read different authors. I have my ones that I keep coming back to no matter what, but like to try out others - old and new. Gives you a different feel on books and takes on solving the problems.

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