Cassidy runs a little antique/pawn shop in Charleston – but few of her patrons know her true job: finding cursed, haunted or otherwise dangerous magical items and taking them off the market. It’s a mission her family has had for a long time, aided and guided by the vampire, Sorren and her employee Teag
With a job description like that, the weird and the odd are pretty much bread and butter. But when some perfectly normal (or, at least, not too harmful) artefacts start to become suddenly dangerous and haunted, there’s clearly something new in the city. Something dangerous. And who else is going to clean it up before worse follows?
This book has a fun concept. A family running a pawn/antique shop whose role is to find dangerous magical artefacts and take them out of circulation. It’s a very fun idea and it really works with Cassidy, the main character, psychometry. Being able to read objects is a perfect fix. I also quite like how they’ve managed to make that useful ability a powerful, dangerous one (albeit a little convenient, story-wise, since it allows her to pull any kind of magical mcguffin she needs) with some really nice ways of working
One of the common tropes I’ve found with magical female protagonists, if they’re not an outright kick arse combat monster weapon, they tend to have magical abilities which are more utility based than battle based. Either they’re all powerful combat gods, or useful tools and rely on other people to protect and fight for them (and, frequently, rescue them over and over). So a character who is both capable of fighting and protecting herself without being the toughest most dangerous weapon evah with awesome killy powers. I appreciate that balance
I also like the world building – groups of people, supernaturals (including a vampire) trying to stop all kinds of supernatural chaos and carnage being unleashed and, inevitably, the big baddy group of selfish power hungry individuals who are naturally wanting to do nasty naughty things. What I like about these very very standard elements is the lack of organisation. The ad hoc, loose collection of both entities rather than some grand secret society that we so often see. It feels… more real to me.
The world and the concept is excellent.
All of it comes with a lot of fun action, excellent battles and nice capability from everyone. All the characters bounce off each other very well - Cassidy and Sorren and Teag and they work as an excellent team. I really like their story and would happily see them in more shenanigans in future.
So why didn’t I love this book? Because it feels… flabby. Flabby and slow, terribly slow and it feels like it drags for a long time. The whole pacing of the book feels off. Part of this is how the mystery is revealed
About the middle of the book we pretty much learn, well, everything. Even in the beginning we learn a fair amount pretty quickly. We learn that there’s a demon doing scary things which is leading to lots of ghostly shenanigans. We learn pretty quickly about the big dark scary demon summoners both past and present, we get an idea of what is happening and where and how it’s all connected really quickly. The location, the smuggled demonic artefacts, the general shenanigans caused by dark magic, shadow people and angry ghosts – we learn it all really quickly.