Thursday, January 24, 2013

Smoke and Magic (Blood and Gold: Book 1) - Patti Larsen

This week, I'm turning my random number generating app loose on my Kindle books. (Yes, I have both Nook books and Kindle books.  Yes, I know it's weird and a little compulsive to have both a Nook and a Kindle.  I don't know what to tell you.)

I think my problem with Smoke and Magic was that I didn't realize it was part of a series with a bloodline, if you will.  Larsen's "Blood and Gold" series is a spinoff from another series, none of which I've read.  And this book ends with a lot of stuff unresolved.  I mean, I'm writing my own series and I read a lot of books that are parts of a series, and I understand that you can't resolve everything in the first book or there would be nowhere for the story to go.  But you can't leave everything up in the air.  And I remember being annoyed when I realized this story had ended, and the rest of the Kindle edition was a lengthy excerpt from another of Larsen's books.

Anyway.

The main character here is Auburdeen Hayle, a 16-year-old hereditary witch whose mother leads an extremely powerful coven in New England.  Coven-related stuff gets tricky at home, though, and because of it, Burdie is packed off to London for a while to live with her mom's best school chum, Georgina Brindle.  Burdie is less than thrilled to be missing all the action at home.  But at least Mum lets her take Sassafras, their magical talking cat, along.

On the way to the Brindles', the horse-drawn cab Burdie is riding in has to stop for a traffic jam, and a strange young man gets in.  On impulse, she hides him from the authorities; he thanks her with a kiss on the cheek as he lets himself out of the hansom.

Finally arrived at the Brindles', Burdie meets the family: Georgina, her husband Bernard, and her children, Hugh and Kate.  Hugh falls for her, but he's an awkward kid whom Burdie feels nothing but friendship toward.  Kate's parents have kept her sheltered, and basically she's aghast at the amount of freedom Burdie has at home.  To top it off, Georgina has put a proscription on the use of magic around the house, and she won't let the girl leave the house unescorted.

Of course, there would be no story if Burdie meekly complied with all of these restrictions.  And you can bet your bottom dollar -- er, pound -- that the strange young man turns up again.  And wouldn't you know it, he's got magic, too.

Smoke and Magic is a promising beginning.  I just wish the author hadn't left so many questions unanswered at the end of it.