Review – Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title Magic Dark and Strange

Author Kelly Powell

Description from Amazon

Catherine Daly has an unusual talent. By day she works for a printer. But by night, she awakens the dead for a few precious moments with loved ones seeking a final goodbye. But this magic comes with a price: for every hour that a ghost is brought back, Catherine loses an hour from her own life.

When Catherine is given the unusual task of collecting a timepiece from an old grave, she is sure that the mysterious item must contain some kind of enchantment. So she enlists Guy Nolan, the watchmaker’s son, to help her dig it up. But instead of a timepiece, they find a surprise: the body of a teenage boy. And as they watch, he comes back to life—not as the pale imitation that Catherine can conjure, but as a living, breathing boy. A boy with no memory of his past.

This magic is more powerful than any Catherine has ever encountered, and revealing it brings dangerous enemies. Catherine and Guy must race to unravel the connection between the missing timepiece and the undead boy. For this mysterious magic could mean the difference between life and death—for all of them.

Release Date October 27, 2020

Initial Thoughts

I saw this book a few months back on Instagram and immediately looked it up. Pitched as Sherlock Holmes meets The Bone Witch I was instantly sold. And, NetGalley wanted me to have this one as well (as I was approved almost immediately after applying).

Some Things I Liked

  • Historical fantasy. I’ve talked about this before, but I just love the genre. I love historical fiction and fantasy so blending them together is just the ultimate mashup.
  • Normalized magic. I liked how the author made magic seem like a normal occurrence without changing the historical context too much. Magic was mainstream in Catherine’s world, but it didn’t feel vastly different than the world we know.
  • Halloween vibes. It’s September right now so I’m getting ready to put together my spooky reads list. Keep in mind, I am easily spooked so I only recommend mildly spooky books. This fit the bill perfectly. This book is definitely creepy and spooky in just the right ways.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • The romance was a bit too understated for my liking. Guy and Catherine had moments but they were few and far between. I thought the novel was a little short so fleshing out some of those moments would have been better.

Series Value

I liked the writing here and I found the characters engaging. However, I don’t think there’s much more to say about them. I am satisfied with the conclusion and found that the nature of the magic system and each character’s abilities do not yield much sequel potential.

However, I will say that I’d like to read more of what Kelly Powell writes. I enjoyed the writing style and would keep reading.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read for me, read in one afternoon. I think it’s perfect for the season, is of a genre that I always appreciate, and was set during a time period that I enjoy reading about.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok – if you enjoyed the historical fiction and magic mashup in this story, try this similar series set in Paris.
  • The Orphan of Cemetery Hill by Hester Fox – if you enjoyed this story but are looking for characters who are a little older, try this standalone set in Boston.

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