More than Magic
I don’t read fantasies. I don’t care for them, and I would rarely choose one to read on purpose. When More Than Magic was assigned to me, I groaned. Oh no, I thought. A fantasy, terrific. Then, I read it. Oh yes, I thought. A terrific fantasy! I believe this is only Kathleen Nance’s second book and I have to say, nice going, Kathleen. Nice, nice book.
Isis Montgomery (called Ice by her family) owns a small perfume shop and dabbles in magic on the side. Not long ago, she was on the brink of a major success when her conniving ex-fiancé stole her perfume formulas, as well as her entire business. He also ruined her reputation by going public, revealing Isis’ penchant for magic. The buying public shunned her and the press crucified her, making a come-back for her a very difficult journey. But Isis is nothing if not persistent. In her search for “the” perfume that will put her back on top, she stumbles upon an out-of-the-way New Orleans curio shop that offers only a tiny drop of the perfume Isis seeks. But alas, the owner of the shop, Madame Paris, is loathe to part with it, and won’t sell/disclose the formula to Isis without a price. But, oh, what a price – Isis must conjure up a djinni and bind her to him. Madame Paris conveniently supplies the proper instructions, complete with chants, for Isis to do this.
Dariyavius el Zarasteya is a darkly beautiful and dangerous man, who also happens to be a Djinn (that’s genie to you and me) from the planet of Kaf. Darius is known on his own world as The Protector, and, although very sexually active, has sworn never to take a zaniya, a wife. Yet, a prophecy comes to him that he must take a zaniya immediately, for his destiny and his impressive powers, his ma-at, or magic, are at risk if he does not. But, Darius cannot just take any woman as his zaniya, it must be the human woman, Isis Montgomery. Darius has a friend, a fellow djinni named Simon who took a human wife, Zoë (Wishes Come True), and it all worked out pretty well, so Darius goes into the situation with only a little trepidation.
When Isis and Darius meet, dyslexic Isis is astonished that she actually conjured up a djinni, and Darius is astonished that his zaniya-to-be is so desirable. When Darius discovers that Isis was tricked into trying to bind him to her, he and Ice have a heart-to-heart, and the two team up to discover the true identity of Madame Paris, and why she is so anxious to imprison Darius. As Isis and Darius work together, they find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into their mutual attraction until Darius binds Isis to him, sexually and emotionally, as his zaniya. The only problem is, he neglects to tell Isis she has just become his wife, for fear of scaring her off. He needs her, after all, to fulfil his still-unknown destiny. But more, he discovers he wants to keep her in his life, and that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to that end.
This book is so charming – each word, each image is a delight. Darius is sexy and enchanting, and his innocent (yet worldly) demeanor steals the show. When he discovers that (virgin) Isis has never been pleasured by a man, he misunderstands and becomes indignant for her. “What do you mean? Have the men you’ve known taken only their own pleasure and given you none? Have they been as clumsy, as hurried, as the camel spying an oasis in the desert?” What a hoot. Every line out of Darius’ mouth is funny and sweet, and his fierce and sincere efforts to keep the woman he loves safe and happy make him a wonderful hero. Talented Kathleen Nance has created a unique, Dara Joy-esque world that is delightful, filled with humor and tender sensuality.
Add a cast of secondary characters, including the irrepressible Aunt Tildy, and a slew of over-protective brothers (the handsomest of them being Ramses – but never call him that), more good guys and more bad guys, and you have a real treat in store. Isis is feisty and wry, Darius is serious and sexy – they’re made for each other. If you love fantasies, don’t miss this one – really, do not. And, if, like me, you don’t care for fantasies, well, you might just be missing something by not giving More Than Magic a try. While it’s not a major keeper, it will bring a smile to your face and a cheeriness to your day, almost as if by ma-at!