‘Minimum Wage Magic’ by Rachel Aaron

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Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Cyberpunk, Magicpunk, Science Fantasy, Thriller, Humorous

Similar books: Shadowrun: Dragonfall (Game), The Prey of Gods

Previous books by the author/in the series: None

Rating: Highly Recommended Urban Fantasy Thriller with Humor

Here’s the TL;DR for my review (SPOILERS!):

  • Pros
    • Fantastic prose. The author’s narrative voice adds the spark of life to this dystopic, cyberpunk world. While the book’s not openly comedic, the kookiness of the setting adds a certain humor to the story.
    • Sympathetic main character. Opal is a mage who’s down on her luck, forced to work the dirty job of a cleaner of abandoned apartments. She’s doing her best to pay off her student loans, trying to stay one step ahead of her despicable loan-shark father. She has a vibrant personality which sings off the pages.
    • Good side characters. Opal’s AI bff is a good ‘only sane man’ character, while Opal’s cyborg partner is a good straight man. The super-cyborg lady was particularly droll.
    • Overall high level of polish.
    • I listened to the audiobook, and the voice actor added a good amount of depth to the story and characters.
  • Mixed
    • This is a dystopic, Science Fantasy, Cyberpunk sort of book. There are wizards with cybernetic implants, dragons who hold day jobs, universities where you can earn a liberal arts degree in Magical History. I liked the setting, but I can understand that not everyone would. If you’re not in the mood for that sort of thing, then move on to another book.
  • Cons
    • The pacing was a bit iffy towards the middle. It wasn’t bad, the plot only lulled for a little while, but it was there.

In summary, I liked this one a lot. This is probably going to be in my top 10 books I read this year.

I was super impressed with the author’s narrative voice and how she perfectly encapsulated the mood of a cheerful cyberpunk dystopia. This is a book about cyborgs and dragons and dystopic Detroit.

This is a genre novel at it’s most prototypical: fun, giving you a bit of intellectual weight but not too much to bog you down, with sympathetic characters and a vibrant setting, with a tightly written plot and sufficient foreshadowing to create structure. This book is an unpretentious good time. The author knew what she wanted to write about, and she did a damn fine job of it.

My complements to Rachel Aaron. I’ll be reading more of her work soon.

 

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