Monday, October 21, 2013

REVIEW: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1) The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I liked this book as much as all of my friends and trusted reviewers do. In fact, there is a very little reason I shouldn’t. Very. Strong writing, strong mystery, strong romance, and yay, a graphic yaoi-ish sex scene. The book screamed “Love me!” to me, but I didn’t... because my mood says “Fuck you. Neener-neener.” What a capricious bastard.

What I Liked

+ the couple

It would have been way too easy to make Lucien this annoying character who suffered endless guilt trips over the evil his family inflicted on people. Thank Cthulhu that wasn’t the case because I hate that kind of character. Bite me, emos. I loved LOVED how Lucien accepted things as they were, let the past rest, and tried to make things right as they came up. He refused to take any blame for his family’s evil because, no-brainer, none of it was his fault. In fact, he was one of their victims too as readers would quickly learn. I loved how pragmatic Lucien was in his principles and how straightforward his attitude was.

With Stephen, I loved how he was utterly professional and didn’t let his grudge against the Crane family get in the way of helping Lucien. He won a lot of points from me when I saw how he quickly recognized Lucien, the new Lord Crane, was innocent in the matter and was contrite for his initial antagonism.

+ the romance

Because of Lucien’s easy-going, direct personality, it was as angst-free as it could be, particularly for a historical M/M Romance where things are not unicorn pooping rainbows for LGBT people. In regard to Stephen, I must admit I was a little (just a little!) frustrated with how much it took for him to get onboard with the smex. That was only because I wanted the two men to get together as soon as possible and be happy. Be still, my romantic heart. I really liked how there was an instant attraction but no instant love. The romance developed steadily with sexual tension that didn’t leave me frustrated.

What I Didn’t Like

+ magic

I would have liked the world building on magic to be more solid. It was too wishy-washy for me, too “magic does whatever the crap it likes.” I get the ability to use magic could skip a generation or a few, but how is it that all the descendants of the Magpie Lord became magic incapable? What happened there? Also, how did the famous Magpie Lord fall into obscurity within the family?

I wanted a framework of magic to work from, and I didn’t truly get that from Stephen despite his very educational magic lessons. I felt like magic was a convenience trope of the plot rather than a pillar element of the world building.

+ the bad guys

I would have liked to know how the bad guys came up with their evil plan since from what I gathered, the legend of the Magpie Lord was obscure, even among the magic-users. But this is a minor complaint compared to what happened at the climax. I hated how the bad guys got the upper hand despite how capable and astute our heroes were. I just didn’t like how it was too late when our good guys finally figured things out and then only managed to prevail at the last minute. It felt a tad contrived; it felt like things were only stretched to that point simply for sake of DRAMA like a TV show.


I rate The Magpie Lord 3-stars for I liked it. I didn’t really like the climax but the Glad-To-Be-Alive Sex at the end made up for it. My one true complaint is that I wished I enjoyed this book as much as my friends did. However, one thing is for sure. This is a quality read (am not surprised to learn the author is an editor) and a strong start of a historical Urban Fantasy series. I’m definitely coming back for book 2.

Goodreads | Amazon

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