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Rag and Bone by KJ Charles
There’s absolutely nothing I didn’t love about this book. I’m a big KJ Charles fan, )although I am woefully behind in my reading( and my favorite series of hers )so far( is the Magpie Lord series. ‘Rag and Bone’ is a spin‐off‐ it takes place in the same alternate universe of London, where magicians, or practitioners are relatively common. Crispin, one of the main characters, is a practitioner who was, unknowingly, trained by a very evil warlock. Now, he’s trying to prove that not only can he learn magic the right way, but that he himself isn’t a criminal. Meanwhile, his lover, Ned, is simply trying his best to get by with his small paper waste business. But when his neighbor is killed by what seems to be magical means, he and Crispin get very tangled up in troubles that are over their heads.
So, like I said, this is my favorite series by KJ Charles‐ I love how easily she integrates things‐ magic, wizards, spells, people returning from the dead‐ into a familiar, historic London and makes it not only very believable, but very unique. But this book, is, I think, my favorite of hers so far. It’s just so… perfect and smooth and absolutely delightful. There’s a lot of action, and the plot was just mysterious enough, and it was so exciting‐ and very clever. But there was also time for a lot of introspection on the part of the characters. And, of course, the romance was honest and it felt real and true and lovely.
This is the first book after a short story that appeared in an anthology, featuring the same characters. When I got the book, it said it was book two and I had a moment of panic, because I hadn’t read the short. )It would probably be more accurate to say this is book one and the short is book 0.5.( But I fell into this story so easily. And I was immediately hooked. The writing is just… I don’t know. It’s not overly flowery or anything like that, but it’s so incredibly smooth and well‐done. Kind of like the writing itself becomes invisible, which is wonderful, because then there’s only story and setting and characters and magic and you can really get absolutely lost in the book.
And the characters… I think these characters are what really make the book special for me‐ what makes all of KJ Charles’ books special. She does characters so, so well. Each one of her characters is absolutely their own person, someone I feel like I actually get to know through the course of the book. Crispin and Ned are no exception. I loved how unsure and timid Crispin was, how fiery his temper is, how he learns to stand up for himself. And Ned was so solid and honest and wonderful. His story was simple but real and so interesting. I loved being in his mind. And I loved the way he and Crispin loved each other.
I’m not sure what else to say about the book, except that it’s magical in every way. I can see it becoming a comfort read, something I go back to when I just need something really, truly good. I absolutely adored it.
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