Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh

Crimes Against Magic - Steve McHugh

Nathan Garrett has had his memory taken from him and has therefore spent the last ten years knowing nothing about himself but his first and last name.  He's spent the intermittent years working as a thief, using magic when necessary to get by.  When a chance meeting leads little droplets of memory returning, Nathan has no idea just how complicated the life he left behind was.  If that were not enough, an old enemy has surfaced and is determined to take make the people Nathan cares about pay to bring about and end to their centuries old feud.

Crimes Against Magic floats between 15th century France and the present day. I normally don't have a problem with flashbacks if they add something significant to the story but found that they kept pulling me away from the exciting action that was happening in the present.  Furthermore, any tension in 15 century France was impossible to maintain for the simple fact that we know that hundreds of years later, Nathan would be facing the antagonist once again.   If anything, the time in the 15th century was used for a blatant info dump about who Nathan is. It certainly didn't add anything to the current days meta.

In what should have been an interesting twist, McHugh created an extremely magically diverse world.  Picture a world in which werewolves, vampires, King Arthur and his court, Mordred, gargoyles, The Fates and Achilles are real and have a role to play. It should have been epic but at times it really just felt like supernatural name dropping. For instance, what is the point of invoking a wizard as powerful as Merlin but then not utilizing him as a character whatsoever? Even Achilles was a fake.

There are several familiar themes running through Crimes Against Magic.  It's best described as Harry Dresden meets Jason Bourne  meets James Bond.   I must admit to being excited by the premise; however, it quickly became clear that Nathan Garrett is little more than an epic Gary Stu. Nathan is so perfect that women either want to play the damsel for him, sacrifice themselves for him, or fuck his brains out.  What they all have in common is that they are all gorgeous.  This means that none of the female characters, even those who are powerful, really get the development that they deserve. Instead, we got the pleasure of having a woman beaten near to death for Nathan's pain. Sure Nathan feels bad but once he figures out who he really is, he's got better things to do than stick around.




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