Innate Magic

47North: Amazon. (Marrowbone Spells, Bk. 1). Dec. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9781542032032. pap. $14.95. FANTASY
DEBUT Fay writes an absorbing debut fantasy novel in this first entry in the “Marrowbone Spells” series. It’s set in 1950s London, where cloth mage Paul Gallagher struggles to get ahead. Paul is endowed with an innate but illegal magic that gives him his ability to enchant fabric, from which he sews charmed clothes. The magic also makes him incredibly charming to any person when he meets them for the first time. Paul’s arrogance gets him into trouble, however, when he meets a new romantic interest, Captain Hector Hollister, to whom Paul brags that he’s about to become the next Court Magician. Hollister threatens Paul’s family and friends to compel him to use his powers for nefarious reasons. As Paul tries to extricate himself from this predicament, he is somehow entangled in uncovering a possible government conspiracy that might also have ties to Hollister. Fay weaves these two subplots together quite well, and the writing’s pace keeps the novel in motion without sacrificing excellent character development.
VERDICT This great first fantasy outing from Fay will be well received by adults and young adults who like V. E. Schwab and Leigh Bardugo.
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