Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells

Title: The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane)

Author(s): Jaye Wells
ISBN: 0-316-03780-X / 978-0-316-03780-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Orbit
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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.


The Mage in Black is the second Sabina Kane novel and it sure does not dissapoint. This is another Urban Fanatsy series that I really enjoy. Sabina is a half -vampire half-mage, with an attitude, although she has a softer side she hides. She has lived all of her fifty plus years with an overbearing vampire of a grandmother, who thinks very little of Sabina. In this book Sabina has set off to New York to meet a sister she never knew about and learn about her mage side. Her grandmother is a character you love to hate and I was so glad Sabina got away from her poisonous personality. 

Sabina constantly gets herself into trouble, and its great to read how she gets herself out of it. In the first chapter she and her companions, a hot mage Adam, and her demon familiar Gighul, are attacked by vampire assassins at a roadhouse. She dispatches them with her usual brashness. They arrive in New York without any more trouble and we are finally introduced to her sister. The two women could not be more different and Sabina tries hard to fit in. Plenty of things seem to be working against her, like accidentally poaching on werewolf territory, an old flame, faeries and her own assumptions that she isn't worth the trouble. I really liked the interaction between Sabina and her sister, and when everyone turns against her, her sister does hold out some hope. I was always on Sabina's side and wondered why no-one else would believe in her. 

Gighul is great as the comic relief, always having something to say. His stint in a demon fight club introduces us to his love interest and a connection to attempts on Sabina's life. I certainly enjoyed Gighul's little side story, and he is definitely on of my favorite side characters. I think I'd put him in a category with Jinks from Kim Harrison's Hollows series. 

Even though Adam is absent for most of this book, he is a great love interest for Sabina. Along with her sister he tries to help Sabina settle in to mage life. He is a great antidote to Sabina's impulsiveness. They have a great chemistry and I held out hope that she would come to realize her feelings for him. Their road to happiness will be paved with some trouble, and I am crossing my fingers Sabina doesn't screw it up! 

I thoroughly enjoy Sabina as a leading character, there is never a dull moment with her. Even though her grandmother has instilled in Sabina that she is pretty much worthless, she works really hard against overcoming her feelings about herself. She is flawed, and I like that about her. She has a kick ass attitude, doesn't take bull from anyone, and stands up for what she believes in. Sometimes lead females can get a bit whiny, but Sabina always manages to steer clear of that. Her sister is great for her, and feels terrible that they grew up so differently. Their relationship is strained at first, but they both find a rhythm that helps their characters move on. Adam has my vote for the hottest male leads. He never tries to smother Sabina, and helps her work at her own pace. Even with her attitude she does have confidence issues, and you see them more when she is with her sister or Adam.  

Overall I recommend this story and its predecessor The Red-Headed Stepchild, as you are introduced to the characters, where they came from and why. 

I give it four Spiders out of five.



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