Welcome to the world of the lupi series, created by Eileen Wilks. Death Magic, the eighth book in the series, releases next week. First, let’s introduce:
Height: 5’2-1/2” (she insists that I mention that 1/2 inch)
Eyes: very dark
Hair: black, thick, straight; usually gets long enough to brush her shoulders before she gets it trimmed
Race: Chinese ancestry
Description: Even features, well-balanced in an oval face; honey-and-cream skin
Favorite music: Eclectic. Current favorites include Yo-Yo Ma, anything from Tchaikovsky, some pop, some jazz. Recent purchase: Not Too Late by Norah Jones.
Profession: Until recently she was a homicide cop, but last fall a special unit within MCD (Magical Crimes Division) of the FBI recruited her.
Education: Associate degree in law enforcement/criminal justice from the University of California; graduated first in class at San Diego Police Academy.
Magical Gift/Nature: A touch sensitive. Lily can feel magic tactilely, but it can’t affect her.
Habits: Likes order, hates clutter. Practices judo regularly; second degree black belt. Runs for exercise. She has a large, messy family and is owned by a huge orange cat she calls Dirty Harry. Lily’s deepest need is to stop the monsters—human and otherwise—who prey on the vulnerable.
Warning: Minor spoilers for the series (mostly background) within
Age: Looks about 30. Looks are deceiving.
Eyes: Dark brown
Hair: Mink brown, worn short
Race: Lupus; European ancestry
Description: Narrow face with skin taut over cheeks that might have been sculpted by the wind; crooked nose, wicked eyebrows. Built lean in the hips, broad in the shoulders. Muscular thighs.
Favorite music: Loves music, period, but especially fond of opera; considers Beethoven the greatest composer of all time; loves jazz; entranced by violins. Recent purchase: Csárdás Hungarian Gypsy Music.
Profession: Prince, according to the press, but the title annoys him. He’s the Lu Nuncio or heir of the Nokolai Clan. His duties include managing the clan’s finances; answering any Challenge to his father, the Rho; representing his clan and his people in public; and generally looking out for the interests of the clan and, when called on, the welfare of individual clan members.
Education: Unknown, but he speaks several languages and is well-versed in economic theory and practice.
Magical Gift/Nature: Werewolf; he also carries the heir’s portion of the Nokolai mantle, which some believe possesses magical properties beyond its ability to unite the clan.
Habits: Wears black. Secretive. A true alpha with a deep sense of duty, Rule has always lived up to the well-known lupus distaste for monogamy and has dated some of the most photogenic women in the country, so the gossip columnists are buzzing over the woman who recently moved in with him. Lily Yu is attractive, but ordinary in comparison to some of his former lovers. Yet she seems to be the only woman in his life now.
Hair: Very short, spiky style; bleached blond
Race: Caucasian; possibly Scandinavian or German descent—doesn’t know
Description: Built like an Amazon or a centerfold, yet men may notice her body second because of the tattoo filligree covering almost every inch of skin like inky cobwebs.
Favorite music: punk, rave, some hip-hop; new interest in world music shows in recent purchase: Toumani Diabate’s New Ancient Strings.
Profession: Currently an FBI agent with the Unit, a division of MCD (Magical Crimes Division), but she’s done a bit of everything in the past.
Education: Associate degree in criminal justice acquired through online courses; FBI Academy
Magical Gift/Nature: Cynna’s a Finder. If the has a good pattern for a person or object, she can Find it if it’s within 100 miles. Her magical training is from the msaidizi path, an African practice (misnamed in the U.S. as Dizzies) that calls for spells to be inscribed on the body as tattoos.
Habits: Messy; lives in a hotel room. Highly altruisitic, though she doesn’t realize this; converted to Catholicism as an adult, partly as a refuge from her tumultous early years, partly to protect herself from demons. Cynna’s friendly streak is unimpaired by a heaping dose of cyncism—she doesn’t trust people, but she mostly likes them.
Age: He’s not thirty, but he looks about that age.
Eyes: Bright blue
Hair: Cinnamon without the sugar; often shaggy since he doesn’t bother with haircuts.
Race: Lupus; mixed European ancestry
Description: The face of a debauched angel; he moves like music given form. Strangers stop and stare when he goes by. Built lean, like a runner or the dancer he is.
Favorite music: Like all lupi, he’s enjoys a broad range of music, but he’s especially keen on all types of drumming; also classic and hard rock. Recent purchase: Europe’s Secret Society.
Education: Claims to have gone to medical school, though there’s no record of it.
Magical Gift/Nature: He’s both werewolf and sorcerer. Though lupi are not supposed to possess a Gift, he does—a strong Fire Gift. In addition, he sees magic as energy and can manipulate it directly or through spells. His refusal to give up sorcery caused his expulsion from his original clan, Etorri, and estrangement from his father.
Habits: His temperment follows his Gift—bright, mercurial, likes to burn things. Doesn’t admit how important dancing is to him. Holds grudges. He’s a scholar of magical theory and history, interested in all forms of spellcraft—to the point of obsession, according to some.
Lily Yu’s grandmother, to be exact. She is an authoritative and sometimes downright bossy woman, but it is usually best to listen to her advice. She knows more than she usually lets on.
THE WORLD OF THE LUPI SERIES
I have read a lot of Urban Fantasy; it’s my all-time favorite fictional genre and has been for years. One of the first series I ever picked up in the genre is still to this day my favorite. The storytelling is superb, the characters are lushly complex, the relationships are constantly evolving and gaining in depth, and the paranormal world is dark, gritty and sexy. I am talking about Eileen Wilks’s World of the Lupi series.
It was 2007 and I was coming off of an Anita Blake series binge. I was looking for a new series to start. My requirements were a very strong heroine, in a city setting but with an alternate paranormal twist to it, and it also had to have some romance. Tempting Danger was recommended on a message board.
I’d never read UF in which the heroine was a truly different culture than me, which was a ridiculous pause because I’m usually not the same culture of any of the heroines I read. Would I be able to relate to her? After diving in, I discovered real fas—yes, absolutely! I could relate to her. And adore her I did! I devoured the first four books quicker than you could say “like the series?” and was a World of Lupi and Eileen Wilks Fan.
The minute Lily meets Rule in the first book Tempting Danger, it was beautiful tension from the start. Their chemistry was off the charts, and it just kept growing. We watch Lily and Rule grow together and build upon their “relationship” in the first two books, Tempting Danger and Mortal Danger.
In addition to the very sexy romance, there is major magical mythology and intricate backstories provided. We learn more about the complex magical realms, Lily and Rule’s families, and the politics and hierarchies of the Lupi clans. There are currently 24 clans; 10 are considered dominant. A dominant clan possesses a particularly strong mantle. The most powerful clans currently are Nokolai and Leidolf.
We get to know Rule’s father, Isen Turner who must act as Rule’s father but also as the Rho, or clan chief. And Benedict is Rule’s oldest brother, and is Native American from his mother’s side. He is considered the greatest living lupi warrior and is responsible for the security at Clanhome. We learn that he is very reclusive, and why. Believe me when I say you will love him.
We are also introduced to the otherworld of Dis, where we meet one of my most favorite secondary characters Gan. Gan is a lowly demon, selected to possess Lily (unsuccessfully). It is able to travel unsummoned between the realms, which is a rare ability, and becomes amazing comedic relief to the series! Love that little demon!
From there, the series focuses predominantly on FBI Agent Cynna and Lupine sorcerer Cullen in Bloodlines and Night Season.
I was really nervous to switch gears from Lily and Rule, to Cynna and Cullen. They are both introduced and play roles in the first two books, but you don’t ever really and truly get to bond with them.
I found quickly any concern was squelched, Bloodlines and Night Season ended up being two of my favorite in the series. Their journeys together are so entertaining, and the places they travel are so incredibly vivid and imaginative. The magical worlds in the series overall are built and expanded upon, and the deadly politics of Lupi life continues to grow and is always tense. We still have Lily and Rule secondarily, but getting to know Cullen and Cynna better really made the series still feel really fresh and exciting.
With Mortal Sins, Blood Magic, Blood Challenge and the upcoming November release Death Magic we go back to our super couple Lily and Rule. It is no small feat to build upon a series that follows (for the most part) one couple, and keep it interesting and enthralling. Each bizarre challenge thrown at the couple really tests what each of them are made of, and tests their ability to work together to handle the situation maturely.
By now, we know that Lily comes from a very rigid conservative and traditional Chinese household. Her life experiences are vastly different than the former-playboy Rule’s natural sexually promiscuous lifestyle of the Lupi. The challenges they face are constantly making them question all they used to know, and how they used to behave, with what will make them stronger with one another. And it is never easy. Fights happen, things are said in anger, they are a believable couple. But they always find a way to become one cohesive unit when something is endangering either each other, or the people they love and who rely on them for protection.The romantic tension is still going strong between Lily and Rule, and the worlds they live in are in so much chaos hurdles in their relationship keep them very busy.
Some of what keeps this series so fresh has to be credited to the awesome secondary characters. Lily’s Grandmother is one of those characters you will love when you first meet her and you will look forward to seeing her every time she makes an appearance. She is a scene-stealer. Nicknamed “the Tiger Lily,” we learn more and more about her in each book and we even get quite her back-story in Blood Magic. She plays a more and more significant role in the series as it grows, and it may, or may not have to do with dragons. The entire cast of characters will endear you to them!
Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi series is so consistently strong in allure, its characters and mythology very involved. Each book has several plots that Ms. Wilks threads seamlessly and beautifully together. The books become more and more complex because the world itself builds and builds in each book. Eileen Wilks writes characters that you connect with all the way across the board; From the main characters to the villains.
Lily and Rule meet and mate in the very first book, and here we are on the eighth full novel with Death Magic and I am just as excited for Death Magic as I was any before it. Each and every book delivers and raises the bar, then delivers all over again. This is Urban Fantasy at its finest.
If you are looking for a charming yet deep Urban Fantasy series, with very intricate magical mythology and extensive lupine hierarchies with a sexy dash of romance, this is a gem of a series and I command you to try it now!
1: TEMPTING DANGER - October 5th, 2004
2: MORTAL DANGER - November 1st, 2005
3: BLOOD LINES - January 2007
4: NIGHT SEASON - January 2008
5: MORTAL SINS - February 2009
6: BLOOD MAGIC - February 2010
7: BLOOD CHALLENGE - January 2011
8: DEATH MAGIC - November 2011
Lupi Short Stories
1: “Only Human” in LOVER BEWARE - July 2003
2: “Originally Human” in CRAVINGS - July 2004
3: “Inhuman” in ON THE PROWL - August 2007
4: “Cyncerely Yours” bonus free short story - January 2008
5: “Human Nature” in INKED - January 2010
6: “Currently Untitled” in TIED WITH A BOW - November 2011
If you’d like to read them in order, here’s a timeline (read from #1 forward):
1: “Only Human” in LOVER BEWARE - July 2003
2: TEMPTING DANGER - October 5th, 2004
3: “Originally Human” in CRAVINGS - July 2004
4: MORTAL DANGER - November 1st, 2005
5: BLOOD LINES - January 2007
6: “Inhuman” in ON THE PROWL - August 2007
7: NIGHT SEASON - January 2008
8: “CyncerelyYours” bonus free short story - January 2008
9: MORTAL SINS - February 2009
10: “Human Nature” in INKED - January 2010
11: BLOOD MAGIC - February 2010
12: BLOOD CHALLENGE - January 2011
13: DEATH MAGIC - November 2011
14: “Currently Untitled” in TIED WITH A BOW - November 2011