Dime Store Magic

Reviewed: March 7, 2006
By: Kelly Armstrong
Publisher: Seal Books
414 pages, $10.99

Canada’s Kelly Armstrong is working on a series known as Women of the Otherworld. Her first two books, Bitten and Stolen, featured the adventures of a middle class werewolf named Elena Michaels.

In the second book she introduced a young witch named Paige Winterbourne, who helped Elena deal with a group of black arts mages who were kidnapping supernatural beings and using them for their own ends.  Paige is the narrator and central character of Dime Store Magic and the book that follows, Industrial Magic.

She in the titular head of the American Coven of Witches, but there are a lot of ways in which she is a mere beginner as a practitioner. In fact, there is some obscure reason why witches are generally less powerful than sorcerers. Paige unlocks that secret in this novel.

The central problem of this novel is actually a custody battle. Paige has taken on the care of a teenage witch named Savannah, who looks very much as if she might become the Annikin Skywalker of witchdom. She is very powerful for her age, and the darker powers of the sorcerers’ cabal want to take her over and train her for their own purposes. This involves some of the same people who were the villains in Stolen.

Paige lives in suburbia, and the bad guys raise the neighbourhood against her by painting her as a black magic user. Besides that, she has to deal with the conservative elements within her own organization, who would like nothing better than for her to give in and stop drawing attention to them all.

There are fights, car chases, romance and lots of tension of all kinds. The book was a bit of fun, for all that it did remind me a lot of an episode of “Charmed”.