Thursday, May 3, 2012

ARC Review: The Department of Magic by Rod Kierkegaard Jr.

The Department of Magic
Author: Rod Kierkegaard Jr.
Publication: Curiosity Quills Press (January 5, 2012)

Description: Magic is nothing like it seems in children’s books. It’s dark and bloody and sexual – and requires its own semi-mythical branch of the US Federal Government to safeguard citizens against everpresent supernatural threats.
Join Jasmine Farah and Rocco di Angelo – a pair of wet-behind-the-ears recruits of The Department of Magic – on a nightmare gallop through a world of ghosts, spooks, vampires, and demons, and the minions of South American and Voodoo gods hell-bent on destroying all humanity in the year 2012.
Only Rock and Jazz, in the company of a ragtag team of urhobos – homeless guardians of the District of Columbia – can prevent it by resurrecting “Goddess America” in a mystical ceremony on the Fourth of July.
It’s all just a normal day on the job at The Department of Magic – where new employees entering its offices are never seen again, while mysteriously continuing to draw full salaries and benefits, sometimes for decades or even a century after.
With a magical cast of characters and a wry insider’s view of the US Federal Government, here at last is a Harry Potter for grownups.

My Thoughts: This was an action packed story with a wide variety of supernatural characters. The main characters were Rocco di Angelo and Jasmine Farah. In the beginning they think they are hired by an obscure government agency and are competing for the same job. But things quickly get weird.

Jazz and Rock soon find out that they are working for a dead man and are part of a plot to reanimate George Washington to help protect the United States from takeover by ancient Aztec gods and other outside attacks.

The story was quick moving and had lots of dangerous encounters for both Jazz and Rock. Ultimately, though, I didn't feel a connection with either Jazz or Rock and didn't really care about the problem they were trying to solve. The story concentrated on action rather than character development which made it less engaging for me.

Also, each chapter began with a description of some magical character many of which seem a tongue-in-cheek stab at political characters. For example, "plaints" are said to be "silent sad defeated creatures who have long since given up the ghost, still pursuing lawsuits for damages against the federal authorities or filing for patents." I never could decide if those descriptions were supposed to be serious or humorous.

The description suggests that this is Harry Potter for grownups but I saw few parallels between the two stories. This is an urban fantasy that has a rather unique premise but would have been better if more attention had been paid to creating sympathetic characters.

Favorite Quote:
"The Union is now complete," said Crawley solemnly.

Of course, now that he was dead, everything the man said sounded pretty damn solemn. And binding.
I got this one from Curiosity Quills Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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