This book had one of the most refreshing acknowledgements I read for a long time:
I'd like to the City of Baltimore for being creepy enough to inspire this series.
Note: I've never been to Baltimore so I can't comment on that.
Another thing I won't be doing is comparing this series to the Dresden Files. I've heard about it, of course, but I've never read the books (yet). Come to think about it, I haven't read that much urban fantasy all together. This all caused my view of The Curse Merchant to be a relatively fresh one. And I liked it.
Dorian Lake has his business selling hexes and charms to a selected clientèle using karma-magic. Unfortunately, this can backfire sometimes as a gun is being pointed at his head right at the beginning of the book. Although at first it didn't really looked like the story was going anywhere, this changes after a special friend confides to Dorian that she's sold her soul to another practitioner. One with roots in the Netherwork, a strange and dark ancient power not to be toyed with.
Dorian considers himself to be one of the good guys as he's not involved in the Soul magic. And although he does try to save a rape victim, he's usually just egocentric and it's far from black-and-white. After all, he does put spells (okay, hexes and charms) on people just because he's getting paid (a lot) to do so. He's not very likeable either, but not necessarily in an annoying way. After the death of his parents and his mysterious magical training in England (I see what you did there) he seems to be quite content with himself.
The story was entertaining, even though I still don't really feel like I have an idea how this magic system works. The writing fitted the story, and reminded me a bit of another Urban Fantasy series I read (Seventeen). The sequel, The Curse Servant, happens to be my next book! I hope I will enjoy it as much as I did this one.
The Curse Merchant is the first book in the Dark Choir Series. The second book is The Curse Servant.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!