Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Caitlin Kittredge

Dear Author

REVIEW: Witch Craft by Caitlin Kittredge

Dear Ms. Kittredge,

I have a very hard time explaining why I keep reading this series.   As I’ve mentioned in the past, the main character, Luna Wilder, can be really off-putting at times.   On the other hand, it’s very nice to see her maturing and evolving over the course of the series.   The Luna Wilder we meet in Witch Craft, the fourth installment of your Nocturne City series, is certainly not the same Luna Wilder we met at the beginning in Night Life.   Well, in some ways, at any rate.   I still question her taste in men.

When Witch Craft opens, Luna is now the head of the Supernatural Crimes Squad (SCS), a new division in Nocturne City’s police force created to look into cases not quite on the mundane side of things.   Problem is they want the SCS to start bringing results ASAP.   If not, then they’ll be disbanded and Luna and her co-workers will be out of a job.

Luna sees their chance to prove themselves with a new case.   Mysterious fires are being set all over the city, killing some unsavory people who deal with Nocturne City’s supernatural side.   What’s more, Luna is being targeted for reasons she doesn’t understand, by things she’s never seen before.   To further complicate things, Lucas, the serial killer wendigo from Second Skin, has returned and Luna finds herself unwillingly attracted to Will Fagin, a federal agent who’s been assigned to investigate the ongoings and might have a secret or two of his own.   Add to that a mole who’s feeding information to the people the SCS is trying to bring down, and Luna’s got a lot on her hands.

I wish I could say I enjoyed this book more than I did.   I didn’t hate it and I did finish it, but it just didn’t incite much of a reaction from me either way like previous books in the series had.   In fact, I actually put the book down in the middle for several weeks, and I didn’t feel any pull to return to it.   I’m not sure why that is.   In a sense, it sort of felt like the story and plot was just going through the motions.

I wasn’t very interested in Luna’s new love interest, Will, even after we learned what his secret was.   I’ve also never been particularly keen on Lucas, but serial killers tend to bring forth that reaction from me.   Even though I never cared for Dmitri, his interactions with Luna were at least interesting.   I can’t really say that here.

It also didn’t help that I figured out who the mole was the second we learned there was a mole in the SCS.   I thought it obvious and that removed a lot of the suspense from the plot for me.   I’m not sure if we were supposed to believe another person on Luna’s team was the spy.   Unfortunately, that person was too obviously a red herring for it to be effective.

I did like the fact that the mythology of the Nocturne City world expanded by having different creatures than we’ve seen previously, and also by including different disciplines of witchcraft.   But it almost felt very kitchen sink-like; too much going on to form any lasting impression.

As usual, I enjoyed the relationship between Luna and her cousin, Sunshine.   I still think that’s one of the best aspects of the series.   And how funny is it that Sunny is now dating Luna’s former boss.   Ha!   How traumatic that must be for Luna.   I also liked seeing the interactions between Luna and her formidable grandmother.   It makes me wish we could have seen more of it in previous books.   Well, maybe in the next one.

I really do wish I could have liked this book more than I did.   I know that the Nocturne City series ends with the next book, though, so maybe the final novel will yield different results.   C

My regards,

This book can be purchased at Amazon. Ebook format? What’s that?

Dear Author

REVIEW: Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge

Dear Ms. Kittredge,

book review I think most readers who’ve heard of you are more familiar with your Luna Wilder series.   While I have my reservations about the titular character of those books, I do think they’re a good way to pass the time.   But I’ll confess: the series I’ve really been waiting for are the Black London books.   My first exposure to this world was in your short story, “Newlydeads,” and although that piece of short fiction didn’t work out so well for me, the world and the characters of Pete and Jack stuck in my mind.   So when I opened up a box from Jane to find an ARC of this inside, I immediately snatched it up and out.

Petunia “Pete” Caldecott is a detective inspector for Scotland Yard.   Her latest case deals with the kidnapping of a young girl.   She has no leads in the investigation until a tip leads her directly to the girl.   But there are two problems.   First, the girl has been mysteriously struck blind.   And second, the informant is a man who died before her eyes when Pete was sixteen.

When Pete was a teenager, Jack Winter dated her older sister, MG (short for Morning Glory — the names in Pete’s family crack me up).   He was hot, part of a rock band, and larger than life, all of which contributed to her massive crush.   Then one day, Jack asked Pete to come with him to a cemetery so he could do some magic.   Pete humored his whims — he’d always been something of a street hustler when it came to performing magic tricks and well, what teenage girl can resist the lure of the forbidden?   Unfortunately, that day, she learned that Jack’s magic tricks might actually be more than sleight of hand and even worse, he saw him die because of it.

The incident traumatized Pete.   She doesn’t really recall what happened that day because a part of her mind desperately wants to deny what it witnessed.   I appreciated this aspect of her character.   In so many books do we encounter characters who come face to face with the fantastic and paranormal and after a brief moment of hysterics or disbelief, accept it and continue on their merry way.   Pete, on the other hand, completely denied what she saw and convinced herself it never happened.   The book doesn’t make light of this decision on her part.   There’s no mistaking that in doing so, Pete did herself some damage, which manifests itself through her recurring nightmares.

The discovery that Jack Winter is still alive forces Pete to face what happened on that day long ago.   And she has to, because the newly recovered girl is only the first in a string of kidnappings that result in children drained of their sight.

Jack doesn’t make the process easier.   The intervening years have not been kind.   Since Pete last saw him, Jack has become a drug addict, strung out on heroin to drown out the presence of the dead, which he has been able to see since he was a child.   Combined with the fact that he holds a lot of residual anger towards Pete for what happened that day, Pete has a lot on her plate.

Frankly, I think this is the best thing you’ve written to date.   “Newlydeads” was the first work of yours I’d read, and I can definitely see a difference between that story and this one.   I can’t even begin to explain how happy that makes me because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s falling out of love with a writer’s works due to a perceived decrease in quality.   So major kudos for that.   I think readers who aren’t fond of the Luna books should definitely give this a try if the premise sounds at all interesting because it is a different sort of book.

The relationship between Pete and Jack is the driving force in the story and, I assume, series.   Pete has known Jack since she was a teenager but the rose-tinted glasses she once viewed him through are gone now that she’s an adult.   Make no mistake.   Jack has made many mistakes, particularly with regards to Pete and what went down that day in the cemetery.   I wouldn’t ever call him a good guy but he falls into that area of grey that I like so much in my characters.   I really enjoyed seeing how Pete worked past the memories of her hero worship to see the Jack as he is now: a hollowed out shell of a man who, let’s face it, is kind of a jerk.

That said, I do think the world Jack lives in necessitates him being a jerk.   Nice people wouldn’t survive long in Black London.   I really enjoyed that part of the worldbuilding.   It was spooky, seeing the magical underworld overlapped with the “real” world.   And speaking of which, I really enjoyed the London portrayed in this book.   I’ve never been to London so I can’t say for sure but it certainly didn’t read like a generic city.   That’s one of my major complaints about urban fantasy and paranormal novels.   They all make a big deal about taking place in a cityscape but in so many cases, they’re interchangeable with little to no distinguishing characteristics.   That’s not the case here.   Everything, from the descriptions to the narrative to the dialogue, read as British, not American to me.   But as I said, I’m not an expert here so if I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book.   Based on my reactions to your Nocturne City novels, I wasn’t sure what to expect.   But having finished the book, I don’t regret picking up and, in fact, am very glad I did.   I look forward to the next book and seeing what’s in store for Pete and Jack.   B

My regards,

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore. No ebook because it’s St. Martin’s Press and they don’t want you to be able to buy a legitimate digital copy.