Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Book & Audio Review: Sinister Magic by Lindsay Buroker

Sinister Magic

Lindsay Buroker
Narrator: Vivienne Leheny
Series: Death Before Dragons (Book 1)
Publication: Self Published (February 28, 2020); Lindsay Buroker (May 13, 2020)
Length: 250 p.; 9 hours and 35 minutes

Description: I’m Val Thorvald, and I’m an assassin.

When magical bad guys hurt people, I take care of them. Permanently.

This doesn’t make me popular with the rest of the magical community—as you can tell from the numerous break-ins and assassination attempts I’ve endured over the years. But thanks to my half-elven blood, a powerful sword named Chopper, and a telepathic tiger with an attitude, I’ve always been able to handle my problems with aplomb. Maybe some cursing and swearing, too, but definitely aplomb.

That changes when my boss is afflicted with a mysterious disease, a government agent starts investigating me, and a godforsaken dragon shows up in the middle of my latest job.

I’ve taken down vampires, zombies, and ogres, but dragons are way, way more powerful. And it doesn’t look like this one is going to like me.

Worse than that, he wants to use his magic to compel me to do his bidding, as if I’m some weak-minded minion.

That’s not going to happen. I’d die before being some dragon’s slave.

But if I can’t figure out a way to avoid him, save my boss, and get rid of the government spook, I’m screwed. Or dead. Or screwed and dead. And that’s never comfortable.

My Thoughts: This beginning to a new urban fantasy series stars Val Thorvald, a half-elven assassin, who rids the Earth of law-breaking supernatural criminals. She runs afoul of a dragon who has come to Earth to capture those criminals and bring them back to their own dimension to face the Dragon Court and be rehabilitated.

When her boss is stricken with a magical form of cancer, Val needs to track down the Dark Elf who made the potion and find a cure before it is too late. However, with her boss away, a new young officer is in charge of the division who really wants to shut the division down and convict both Val and her boss of financial malfeasance. 

Val finds herself trying to elude the cops, find Dark Elves who were an unknown species to her, and keep out of the way of the dragon who wants her to become his bait to capture criminals. Luckily, she has some allies including a part-dwarf who makes magical garden statuary and a snarky tiger who comes from another dimension when she calls for aide. And she has her weapons including a magical sword and a gun that fires magical bullets. 

I really enjoyed this series beginning. Val is a great character who is dealing with a difficult job and who seems to have developed asthma from the stress of it. She has deliberately distanced herself from her young daughter and her mother in order to keep them safe but regrets what she sees as the necessity to be so alone. 

I enjoyed the narration by Vivienne Leheny. I look forward to reading more in this series. 

Favorite Quote:
"And try to keep them distracted. Keep saying arrogant things."

Zav looked over his shoulder, pinning me with his glare. "I do not take orders from law-breaking mongrels who do not acknowledge the supremacy of dragons."

"Yeah, say stuff like that." I gave him a sarcastic thumbs up. "You're a natural."
I bought this one February 5, 2021. You can buy your copy here.

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