More than Magic
I give up and give in. More than Magic wins the game. Despite some obvious flaws, it has a charm that permeates even the most purple love scene and the sketchiest of paranormal settings. There are plenty of things that should annoy me about this read, that simply don’t. Must be magic.
Perfumist Isis Montgomery buys a special scent for her shop against the promise that she will perform a certain ritual. She is shocked when the magic works and she calls the djinn Darius, Protector of the world Kaf, to her. Darius, for his part, has been informed that only by marrying this Terran woman can he regain control over his powers and continue his protectorship. They both have something the other needs. Darius can make more of the vital perfume for her, as well as prove that magic is real. Isis can help him save Kaf from its enemies. Still, Darius does not tell Isis what he needs from her, since he believes he can leave her after the wedding. His inexperience with earthly things lands them in a number of tight spots, and his reluctance to be honest with Isis nearly makes him lose her. Only after making the wrong choice, does he realize how much he loves and needs her.
Isis is a very likable heroine in many ways. She has faced and overcome difficulties all her life without becoming bitter or argumentative. Above all, she is durable and resilient. She has been betrayed and cannot believe in magic, even though she wish it did exist. Darius’ highhanded habits irritate her, and she handles his arrogance marvelously.
Darius is accustomed to being solitary, and much desired by females. Isis’ reluctance is puzzling to him, even more so than the customs of Terra. Above all, Darius is haunted by duty. He will do his duty to Kaf, no matter what, even if it means tricking Isis.
When you set up a different world it takes more than word magic to make it come alive. I can be unfairly picky, but I do read a lot of fantasy, and I hold those who create alternative worlds to a high standard. The world of Kaf is an esoteric and exotic background to the further development of the relationship between Isis and Darius. However, it remains a background, which leaves a number of things, like the structure of djinn society, and the secondary djinn characters, hanging in thin air. It also provides little insight into Pari’s motivation, making her a very average villain.
Isis’s Aunt Tildy was a partial pleasure. Her way with men was hilarious, and it was amusing to have the supernatural theme confronted with a professional debunker of charlatan psychics. Since I enjoyed this contrast, I found her sudden belief, and the motivation given for her profession, just a tad too neat.
Be that as it may. I enjoyed More than Magic, and smiled frequently while reading it. While it didn’t fit all my preferences, it had a charm and vivacity I was defenseless against. There are far worse ways of spending your time.