Book/Author: Ever Strange (Legal Magick Book 1) by Alisa Woods (2019)

Reviewer: Bethany

Age/Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Preferred Reading Environment: On a blanket in the park! Enjoy the sun while it’s out!!!

Reading Accoutrements: Water and a snack 🙂 Maybe pop in your earbuds and rock out to your favorite badass chick playlist.

Content Notes: Kidnapping, Questionable Consent

I have been watching the reboot of Charmed and it’s put me in the mood for some kick-ass ladies with supernatural abilities. So, when I saw Ever Strange on Amazon, I decided it was worth starting a new series to satisfy my craving – even though I did zero research on the book in advance, other than reading the blurb on Amazon. And let me tell you, this book delivers supernatural-ability-wielding kick-ass women in spades.

Imagine, if you will, that High Magick returned to the world in 1859. It is now integral in all aspects of society today, from technology to medicine, industry to construction, although not everyone has abilities. Certain types of magick – primarily “mental magick” – have been made illegal due to the invasive nature of the magick itself. Essentially, the ability to control other people with magick or to cast spells without the use of gestures is illegal. Interestingly, offensive magick – that is to say, magick one would use to physically harm an opponent – is not illegal. Heck, there are even high school teams devoted to honing offensive magick skills! But I’m getting off topic…

Anyway, Ever Strange takes place in present day Chicago in this alternate universe where magick is pervasive. Zane Walker, an FBI agent with the Magickal Crimes Division (aka crimes involving the illegal sale of magick-enhancers), is undercover as an enforcer for a ruthless cartel boss. Zane’s Talent is a highly illegal form of mental magick, but he only uses it as sanctioned – while collecting evidence against the man trying to take over all of Chicago’s organized magickal crime. And he almost has everything that he needs.

When Ever Strange, the CEO of Strange Medical Technologies and a really powerful witch, crashes the meeting where Zane is gathering arrest-worthy intelligence, Zane chooses to save the girl over the evidence. What Ever knows will change the tone of Zane’s entire investigation. Corpses, including Ever’s father, are stolen from the morgue after the victims suspiciously overdosing on magick-enhancers. The cartel seems to be behind the bad drugs and the missing corpses. Zane and Ever have to work together to find out what is going on before city-wide panic ensues.

There is, of course, a romantic entanglement involved in this book (I mean, I’m reviewing it. What did you expect?), so I’m going to start there. Zane and Ever are both pretty isolated from the outside world. Ever is close to her family but pushes everyone else away (which is probably why she gets so reckless when her dad dies) because she accidentally killed her first love when she lost control of her powers. Zane’s family are all dead and he is isolated from his coworkers because of the illegal nature of his Talent. Both of them have walls built so high, they have no trouble standing independently. But living behind walls can get lonely and the two find a *surprising* (to them) amount of understanding from each other. Honestly, the love story dragged a little bit, and I sincerely doubt that anybody was surprised by the ending of their story but the characters themselves. There was a lot of really redundant foreshadowing, so instead of the “will they/won’t they suspense” I was supposed to feel, I ended up feeling more “Come on! Pull your heads out of your asses and do it already!” irritation.

I mentioned in the content notes that there are moments of questionable consent in this book, so I’m going to clarify why I said that really quickly. Zane is an incubus – he feeds off of the sexual magickal energy of others, which can kill his victims if he loses control. To facilitate this need to feed, Zane can unlock the sexual fantasies of anyone nearby with very little effort – he just reaches into their brain and pulls them loose. Suddenly, people are writhing on the floor in the middle of their most erotic day dreams while Zane feeds off their sexual energy. It’s the reason his magick is illegal, and why he keeps such tight control over his life. He is careful not to cross that boundary with innocents, until circumstances with Ever take that choice away from him.

As I read Ever Strange, I was quite surprised by how convoluted the plot became. (I probably shouldn’t have been so shocked, because this is the first book in a trilogy about sisters and it’s not like the three of them are going to get into completely unique trouble. Anyway…) It started out a plot about an evil crime-boss bent on taking over organized crime in the Greater Chicago Area, but it became something much more intense that I cannot discuss – because spoilers! Let’s just say that Ever’s scientist sister, Mercy Strange, has her work cut out for her in book two (which I have also read and also cannot discuss, obviously). I’m really excited to see how the third book, about Verity Strange, plays out; it will be released in August!

Have you ever taken a chance on a new series based on a whim? How did it go? Tell me about it in the comments!


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