Pros: My favorite installment so far in Wilks’s Lupi novels
Cons: Do make sure you’ve read the others first!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Lily’s boss, Ruben, has decided to start up a secret unit that will operate outside the law. He knows this will be almost impossible for Lily to accept at all, much less join in on, but he’s had a premonition that if she doesn’t, all may be lost. In the meantime, things are only getting stranger. A prominent anti-Lupi anti-magic senator was killed by death magic, and Lily’s investigation seems to point to an ally as her unlikely suspect. She has to work with new people who despise her abilities and her relationship with the Lupi, and to top it all off she’s seeing ghosts.
Ruben isn’t the only one harboring secret plans, however. Every Rhej among the Lupi clans suddenly has mysterious business to attend to, as do the dragons. The mantle Lily carries is making her ill, possibly killing her. And Ruben may prove to be far more central to everyone’s machinations than he realizes.
It’s too bad that these days, novels like Eileen Wilks’s Death Magic don’t tend to have their series book number on the cover. Seriously, how difficult would it be to put “Book 8 of the Lupi” rather than “A Novel of the Lupi”? It would make it far easier for people to go back and read the series in the right order, or avoid accidentally picking up a book without its predecessors. Anyway, Wilks does try to make her books stand well on their own (I dove in a few books in, and have read a couple out of order), but it’s too complex a world for the books to truly stand on their own, particularly by this point. So make sure you start at the beginning!
The twists hit hard and fast in Death Magic. There were many events I just did not see coming, and that was a ton of fun. Wilks also has a rare talent for creating a paranormal world in which tons of wacky mythological creatures actually exist, and which has some humorous bits to it (just wait until you meet the Brownies), yet that doesn’t come across as too silly. I’m pretty amazed at how she manages to keep things serious enough to keep the tragic or uplifting moments from clashing with the hilarious.
Other than that, there’s little I can add that I haven’t already said about her Lupi novels. The characters are wonderful and complex, often unexpected. The plots are twisted and surprising. The world-building holds together beautifully. Death Magic is a fantastic entry into the series!