[Review] THE MAGE IN BLACK by Jaye Wells

THE MAGE IN BLACK is book # 2 in the Sabina Kane series, in this week of celebrating Jaye Wells’s exciting debut series.

Cover Copy: Sabina Kane doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, leader of the vampire race, wants her dead. So when she arrives in New York to meet her mage relatives, the reunion puts the fun in dysfunctional. Not only is mage culture completely bizarre, but everyone seems to think she’s some kind of “Chosen” who’ll unite the dark races. Sabina doesn’t care who chose her, she’s not into destiny.

But the mages aren’t Sabina’s only problem. In New York’s Black Light District, she has run-ins with fighting demons, hostile werewolves and an opportunistic old flame. Sabina thought she’d take a bite out of the Big Apple, but it looks like it wants to bite back.

My Thoughts: At the end of book 1 (RED-HEADED STEPCHILD) Sabina Kane, half-vampire half-mage, has just pissed off her grandmother/boss/head of the vampires, Lavinia, and learned she has a twin sister, who’s been living with the mages all her life. Now, needing allies, a job, and a place to live, Sabina leaves Los Angeles (vampire territory) for New York (home to mages and others) to spend some time getting to know this new sister.

Sabina inadvertently “poaches” in werewolf territory and ends up having to fight the Alpha to pay the blood debt. This fight results in her demon signing up for the demon MMA and in Sabina reuniting with an old flame. For some reason, attempts on Sabina’s life ensue.

This is where the story fell apart for me. Sabina doesn’t really want anything. She presumably wants to spend time with her sister, but when roadblocks pop up, Sabina lets them stand there and finds something else to do. I also have to think that as wants/motivations go, this is not a very strong one. This story needed some mystery or quest to carry the book from start to finish in addition to all the complications already present in the story. It’s not quite enough to wonder who is trying to kill Sabina (I saw the culprit coming a mile away), especially when Sabina is not actively trying to find the culprit herself. She’s leaving that up to the mages. This felt out of character for her.

I would have liked for Sabina to spend more time with Maisie. I felt like I was supposed to care about Maisie more, but ultimately I didn’t know her well enough to care.

I also kind of wanted the love triangle to be stronger. It felt forced to me. I guess I felt that Sabina had barely explored a relationship with Adam before she was falling back into the arms of Slade for a one-night stand. Plus, the events that lead to Sabina having alone time with Slade while Adam was “conveniently” on a mission out of town felt contrived.

Despite all this, there are some great fight scenes, the demons were very entertaining, and we learn an awful lot about mage culture and magic systems. As always, Jaye Wells’s has a wonderful sense of humour. If Jaye Wells wrote a cereal box, I would read it just for her fabulous humour.

Definitely looking forward to GREEN-EYED DEMON.

Rating: B
Series: Sabina Kane series
Publisher: Orbit Books
Acquired: Purchase

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