Book Review: Right Hand Magic, by Nancy Collins

284 pp.

Right Hand Magic: A Novel of GolgothamRight Hand Magic is a “magic isout in the open” urban fantasy. Our heroine is a young woman named Tate, an aspiring artist in search of a new place to live. (She is a sculptor who works with steel, which does not make her very popular to her yuppie neighbors.)Despite having a trust fund, with rich parents, she is looking for a cheap place to stay. After looking around, she comes across a very cheap room at a boarding house in a part of Manhattan where absolutely no cab or moving company will go: Golgotham.

Golgotham is basically a ghetto in the oldest sense of the word; a segregated section of the city separated by law instead of economic bracket. The inhabitants of Golgotham are various varieties of magical creatures plus a non-human race of magic users called Kymerans. The Kymerans have been living in ghettos like this for centuries after a “holy war,” that destroyed their country. (This will be the biggest problem I have with the book. It’s like a cross between Harry Potter,a manga and Katherine Kurtz’ Deryni novels, but not in a good way.)

The ghetto environment and accepted segregation of minorities is not the main plot of the story however. Instead, we have a light romance that develops between our heroine and her Kymeran sorcerer landlord. Hexe turns out to be the son of “TheWitch-Queen of Golgotham,” and is technically a prince. He practices “Right Handed Magic” and is determined to make his own way in the world without relying on his mother’s connections or use of “Left Hand Magic” which involves curses and harmful magic. Since Tate is also attempting to do her own thing despite the approval of her parents, they end up feeling that they have a lotin common.  

Things become adventurous and downright dangerous when Tate and her landlord Hexe find a teen-aged were-cougar who has escaped from an extremely illegal fighting ring run by a Golgotham crimelord.

There are some extremely entertaining bits in this book, which looks like it might be one of a series. Unfortunately, the world building feels a little tacked on,and something just shoved in for window dressing. The writer doesn’t bother to really address the alterations, except in the sense that “it’s difficult to send large pieces of art across the city when no one will deliver or pick up anything for you.” (I am strongly reminded of the “Merry Gentry” books by Laurell K. Hamilton which has similar problems in regard to “world building.”) Aside from these few complaints, I did find the book to be interesting and fast paced.At two hundred eighty four pages, it packs in a lot of adventure and hair raising escapes.


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Filed under fantasy, humor, Nancy Collins, Review: Book, romance, urban

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