Series: Deadly Curiosities #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Solaris on 24 June 2014
Cassidy’s official job is proprietor of Trifles and Follies but unofficially she is one of the few that protect humans from magically charged artefacts. When items she knew were safe and sold to customers turn into ‘spookies’, she knows that something big and bad is is coming to Charleston.
Psychometric members of Cassidy’s family have been working alongside the vampire Sorren for centuries to acquire, classify and neutralise dangerous magical objects (spookies). They keep their activities under wraps but their antique and curio shop, Trifles and Folly, has developed a bit of a reputation for dealing with unusual items. Sorren and Cassidy belong to a loose organisation called The Alliance are diametrically opposed to others called The Family that seek to use magical items to boost their own powers. I hope this aspect is expanded on in future books.
I loved the variety of abilities that Martin gave us. Psychometry, which is the ability to read the history of objects, is a passive skill in many ways but it was practical for Cassidy’s job and she found a way to use it to fight. Her side-kick Teag’s skill of ‘weaving’ data was possibly the coolest though and trumped even the voudon practitioner and Sorren. Charleston came alive in this book and was practically a character in its own right. We got a really strong sense of the rich history thanks to Cassidy’s visions and they added plenty of colour to the book. Thankfully there was no romance to derail the investigation and reduce the tension.
The book has two problems – repetition and Mary-Sue characters. Our characters go out to investigate something, get attacked by something scary, get injured and retreat. Rinse and repeat. The fact they didn’t do that much to stop the cycle was odd, especially since Soren was an experienced fighter. The fight scenes however were handled well and tension built up nicely to the big showdown. A number of the characters had mastered their unusual skills with no real training. I wanted Cassidy and Teag to falter a little as they learned to control their new weapons and abilities to give a bit of realism. One smaller complaint is that two important characters enter the novel towards the end. I wish we had longer to get to know them as they were genuinely interesting. I suspect we’ll find out much more about one next time though.
I really enjoyed this novel and will happily step into Cassidy’s world again despite my few quibbles.