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Urban Fantasy Review: Smoke & Mirrors by Jess Haines

Smoke & Mirrors by Jess Haines (Blackhollow Academy #1)

Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she's just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she's got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can't afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn't have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems...

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight....

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK  


* * *
I got a really good vibe from this book, folks! It was fun, fast-paced and packed with vivid characters. Overall, a great urban fantasy!

If you are familiar with Jess Haines's books, you'll be happy to know this story is based in the same universe as The Others series, but instead of vampires, it concentrates entirely on magical creatures. If you are unfamiliar with this author, you won't miss anything, and it will remind you of Rachel Aaron's recent work Nice Dragons Finish Last.

Kimberly is in a bind. She is the only sorcerer in a school of magi, and her magic is so different from her fellow students, that she would fail her final exams if she can't secure help of a powerful familiar. Without a degree from Blackhollow Academy she won't get a profitable job as a skilled illusionist with one of the covens and her and her waitress mother will starve. They are extremely poor and it takes all their strength and working extra hours to just keep paying rent.

So when a teacher who looks after Kimberly at school sends her to a powerful individual who might help her to secure a dragon as a familiar she is ready to do anything to succeed.

Hunter is a fab character and it takes time to guess who he is. He dresses like a dapper gentleman, keep an antique shop and even vampire master of New York keep way away from him. Kimberly intrigues and frazzles him, and he agrees to make some introduction for her.

The chemistry between those two is undeniable, but there is also sheer determination, good intentions, misunderstandings, jokes and rows which shakes the city proper.

You fly through the plot with a smile and an occasional giggle, grumble about the shortness of the book, but enjoy the hell out of it. So, yes, I totally recommend it. Refreshing, light and leaves you craving for more.

* * *
Прикольный настрой у этой книги, ребятушки! Она задорна, полна экшна и напичкана живыми, сочными персонажами. В общем, классное городское фэнтези!

Если вы знакомы с творчеством Джесс Хэйнс, то будете рады узнать, что Дым и Зеркала выстроена в той же вселенной, что и серия Другие от автора, только сосредоточивается на магических существах вместо вампиров. Если автор этот вам не известен, вы ничего не теряете из сюжетной линии. Книга мне эта напомнила один из последних романов Рэчел Аарон: "Хорошие Драконы Заканчивают Последними".

Кимберли отчаянно нужна помощь. Она единственный чародей в школе магов и знает, что последние экзамены она провалит, так как её магия отличается от магии ее однокурсников, и привязать к себе фамильяра она не сможет. Проваленные экзамены означают потерю шанса хорошей работы с одним из ковенов ведьм, а значит Кимберли и ее мама не смогут выкарабкаться из нищеты, в которой они пребывают с её рождения. Обе перебиваются работой официанток, чтобы хоть что-то есть и платить счета за квартиру. Один из учителей девушки жалеет её и отправляет к профессионалу, который вполне возможно поможет ей получить согласие дракона на то, чтобы стать её фамильяром.

Хантер - интересный характер. Данди, владелец антикварной лавки и настолько влиятельное лицо в магической иерархии Нью-Йорка, что даже мастер-вампир города обходит его стороной. Между ним и Кимберли сразу же видны искорки заинтересованности друг в друге, влечения и привязанности, однако он не доверяет её мотивам. И всё же, он соглашается ввести её в круги, где она вполне возможно найдёт дракона, который согласится стать её партнёром.

Множество шуточек, недопониманий, перепалок и опасных моментов спустя, Кимберли получает то, что хотела, да и Хантер тоже *смеясь*. Книга прекрасно написана, читается на одно дыхании, полна юмора и потенциала. Читала с огромным удовольствием и вам советую не проходить мимо!

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