Right hand magic (Golgotham series)

Right hand magic / Nancy A. Collins.

Right hand magic is the first book in the Golgotham trilogy. The basic premise is that supernatural creatures live uneasily alongside humanity. Golgotham is the name of the neighborhood in New York City where most of these creatures live.

Brief plot summary

Tate Donovan is a sculptor seeking inspiration and a cheap place to live, preferably one as far as possible from her ex. Initially excited by the prospect of living in Golgotham, especially with her attractive Kymeran landlord Hexe, she soon finds herself forced to contend with Golotham’s version of the mob.

So how is it?

It’s certainly readable, but it’s not great. The premise is more well developed than I was expecting, but there are a few major flaws. The biggest one is the incredibly forced slang, which is more silly than street.

Beyond that, the Golgotham trilogy is really one slightly overlong paranormal romance novel that doesn’t realize it’s supposed to be one.  The plot gets more development than the relationships between the characters, and it’s significantly less intense than your average romance novel. 

In some ways it’s similar to Laura Resnick’s work (normal human in New York City gets in over their head dealing with supernatural phenomena and organized crime) but Resnick’s work is intentionally goofy whereas Collins can’t seem to decide whether this is supposed to be a gritty series or not.

One thing I was slightly uncomfortable with is that it’s possible to read the second and third books as a defense of gentrification. I don’t think it’s intentional, it’s largely a plot device for putting another obstacle in Tate’s way, but there are some unfortunate implications there.

Still, it’s self contained and complete in three fairly short volumes.

Recommendation

Honestly, the Golgotham books are a little bit like a cross between the InCryptid series and the Esther Diamond series, only less demanding than either. It’s a good bet for fans of those books looking for something new, but it’s more of a stopgap recommendation while lookin for better things than it is a series worth actively seeking out.

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