Oct 30 2011 2:00pm

Fresh Meat: Eileen Wilks’s Death Magic (Nov. 1, 2011)

Death Magic by Eileen WilksEileen Wilks
Death Magic
Berkley, $7.99, Nov. 1, 2011

Recovering from an attempt on his life by an FBI traitor, Lily Yu’s boss forms a ghost unity that will operate in secret—and outside the law. Lily’s conscience won’t let her join. Her fiancé, lupi Rule Turner, has no such reservations. But when a senator is killed, Lily’s decision becomes a matter of life and death—and all the magic in between.

Eileen Wilks’s Death Magic opens with Special Agent Lily Yu in Washington, D.C., with her fiancé—lupi prince Rule Turner—to testify before a Senate subcommittee about her role in the magical collapse of a mountain last month. She is not there to tell them about the strange legacy she carries from that event, nor about the arcane bond between her and Rule, nor what her boss in Unit Twelve of the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division is really up to. She sure as hell won’t tell them that the lupi are at war with an Old One who wants to remake humanity in her own image.

When you choose to read Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance, you’re going to get interspecies romance. One scenario I run into is the werewolf mating syndrome; swhen werewolves find their mates, it becomes a battle of the wills that will inevitably end in a mind blowing week long sex-a-thon. We only read about the emotions during the mating while the obvious problems between two separate species mating is glossed over or ignored. Such as the difficulties of blending of two different personalities, cultures, expectations, etc....because in any relationship you’re bound to experience some sort of culture shock.

My husband and I were raised very differently. He comes from a Southern Baptist family where the man is essentially the bread winner and therefore dominant in the household. He believed that the man provided for, and protected, his family and the family is supposed to listen to what the man says.

On the other hand, I was raised by a female single parent in a large extended Catholic household. I learned early on to be independent and self sufficient. I obeyed my mother as a child out of respect, but once I reached a certain age, I was responsible for myself and answered to no-one. You can imagine the difficulties my husband and I worked through in the early years of our marriage. Essentially, he couldn’t believe I didn’t ask and I couldn’t believe he expected me to. After 10 years, we have learned the art of compromise and are happy.

I appreciate the time and effort Wilks uses as she explores interspecies mating issues far beyond the norm. The Lupi series is a blending of old world fantasy with modern day intrigue; magic and crime fighting go hand in hand as our heroine, Lily Yu, straddles the line between her world and the supernatural world.

We have followed the burgeoning relationship of Lily Yu and Rule Turner—the cop and the werewolf prince playboy. Rule knew at their first meeting that Lily was his Chosen, but this mating was neither anticipated nor wanted. Rule accepted it because it is part of his heritage. Lily, on the other hand, found it harder to believe and accept. Lily is very much about rules; a strong, Chinese-American police detective with a gift for sensing magic, she is defined by her job. It is an inherent part of her; one she takes very seriously. I wonder if Ms. Wilks was having a tiny laugh when she names Lily’s true love-Rule. :)

Rule, on the other hand, is your stereotypical wolf; strong, intelligent, chauvinistic, and good in bed. When we first meet him, he wasn’t all that likable. He defines himself through his wolf and uses it as an excuse for his moral ambiguity. Both of them are in positions of power, and that dynamic makes for some interesting dominance testing scenes.

What I love about this series is that all the above is not glossed over. Through the eight book series, we watch Rule and Lily as they deal with their bonding, with reservations on both sides. Not only are we given Lily’s thoughts, but we also hear Rule’s side. We see their respective battles, concerns, and arguments. We see them adapt, concede, and compromise. What starts out as a unavoidable joining turns to true love and we get to experience it with them every step of the way.

In Death Magic, Lily and Rule have four months until their wedding. Rule and Lily’s mother have planned the majority of the event, with Lily’s blessing. When Lily is asked to join a shadow law enforcement group that will fight the Humans First group outside the parameters of the law she finds herself in a conundrum. Lily has some important decisions to make that will not only effect her, but the entire human and supernatural population. She is also still holding the mantle until the proper Wythe clan member can be found to take it. The mantle is starting to effect Lily in unforeseen ways, and that is causing problems for Rule. He allowed her to take the mantle because of his faith and love in the Lady (the Lupi god), but now he sees Lily in danger and his faith is severely shaken. Rule has always trusted in the Lady and was her fiercest champion. Now, for the first time ever, Rule questions his goddesses motives.

Oh yes. Yes, the Lady must have known. The wild rage surged up like a sandstorm, tattering thought, fraying his control...

I enjoyed seeing Rule and Lily finally experiencing what the other usually goes through. For once, Lily is beginning to understand that sometimes things are out of your hands and you have to trust in the gods and goddesses, while Rule isn’t willing to gamble on faith when it comes to Lily.

“I understand better now why it was so hard for you to consider joining...”

His eyes were dark and focused intensely on her. She rested a hand on his chest. His heart beat steady and slow. “Okay. Why?”

“You don’t know who you are if you aren’t first a cop. I knew that, but I didn’t...” He sifted her hair with his fingers as if he might find the words there. “I didn’t understand in my gut. Now I do. I learned that I’m not...I’m no longer the Lady’s first. I still serve her, but she’s not the first. If I must choose between you and her—-”

“Don’t. Don’t try to choose.”

“Too late. I already have.”

The World of the Lupi series combines an action packed, suspenseful Urban Fantasy with a realistic relationship between two incredibly charismatic and intriguing protagonists.


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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