February 24, 2019

#BookReview: A Dangerous Magic (Gifted #1) by Donald Hounam

Title: A Dangerous Magic
Series: Gifted
Author: Donald Hounam

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Pages: Hardcover, 352
Published: Septemeber 1, 2017
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Rating: ★

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Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Frank Sampson has a hard time following the rules. He's smart-mouthed and not so good with people. He also happens to be a highly gifted forensic sorcerer. 

So when the Bishop of Oxford is beheaded, Frank is called in to help solve the case. The mystery of the bishop's murder becomes even more complicated when Frank's magic shows him the missing head doesn't actually belong to the headless corpse. To crack the case, he'll need to use unorthodox methods, no matter the consequences.

 A bishop is beheaded, and Frank, a rule-breaking forensic sorcerer, is requested to help solve the case. 

Frank's extraordinary gifts lead him to perform dangerous magic like summoning demons to untangle the mystery.

About the Author:  Donald Hounam grew up in England, moved to Dublin, Ireland, and then scuttled back to England and started making up unlikely stories.

My Review: This one was so confusing. The magic system was just weird and not easy to follow and I just could not conntect to any of the characters in the story. The story itself was off and well man did they kill a lot of animals. 

Go Into This One Knowing: Animal Slaughter

"Frank Sampson is a 15-year-old forensic sorcerer for the Criminal Investigation Department of Doughnut City, a fictional place in England. In this supernatural murder mystery, magic is known and feared, but not understood. And most who practice it become blind by the time they reach 30. 'What we've got here is a world where kids do all the seeing.' This dystopian urban fantasy has an intriguing magic system heavily influenced by Catholicism, bureaucracy, and politics--none of which Frank has respect for. The teen survives an abusive father, abandonment issues, as well as 'self-harming: one of the useful skills they taught me at Saint Cyprian's, ' all while trying to figure out why the Bishop of Oxford was beheaded. He has no people skills whatsoever and none of his social challenges are magically fixed by the end of the story, making this gritty but realistic. The Briticisms combined with terms specific to Frank's world might make the work a challenging read for some teens. There are unrequited romantic overtures but no sex scenes. There is, however, a lot of gore due to the nature of necromancy. It is also not always clear who is speaking, making it difficult to maintain a grip on the plot and dialogue. An entertaining choice for speculative fiction mystery lovers. Otherwise, an additional purchase only."--School Library Journal

"A brilliant teenage sorcerer takes on the case of a beheaded bishop in this supernatural noir debut. When the police drag 15-year-old Frank Sampson into a murder investigation, he immediately suspects that something is off (other than the cleric's absent head). But since the detective in charge hates him, superstitious mobs are after him, and his own society is ready to expel him, not to mention the feminine distractions of plucky, perceptive DC Marvell and the bishop's beautiful, enigmatic niece--well, Frank's a bit bollixed, all right? Hounam skillfully integrates classic hard-boiled-mystery conventions with the baroque flair of occult horror. Frank's mordantly hilarious narration elliptically conveys all the bleakness of this Church-ruled Britain, where industrialized magic coexists with Victorian technology and epidemic presbyopia by age 30 thrusts children into adult responsibilities. While the main characters are all working-class white, the background displays significant ethnic and social diversity. Raymond Chandler-esque antihero Frank is simultaneously supremely arrogant about his skills and rubbish (and self-sabotaging) in his personal life; his cynical, iconoclastic veneer barely conceals his vulnerability and romantic idealism. Despite the frenetic pace and meandering asides, the engrossing central mystery pays off with a twisty reveal that--in the best noir tradition--is both predictable in its tragedy and satisfying in its rough justice. Violent, profane, caustic, grisly, and pitch-black--but all in a good way."--Kirkus Reviews

"Dark, creepy, twisted--and an enormous amount of fun."--Sarah Prineas, Prairie Lights Bookstore
--Other Print

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