Book Review: Grey Magic by JT Lawrence
Location: On the KTX from Seoul to Daegu; in bed the whole of Sunday; on the express bus to Gangneung for Christmas
I started reading JT Lawrence’s latest novel Grey Magic on the KTX train from Seoul to Daegu. I had just had a job interview (the final one of three) and I was shaking with excitement and dread. I completely procrastinated on buying a train ticket back home (who even knows what I was thinking; that I would start the job right away?) so I had to stand in the corridor between two cars, next to the pungent bathroom. That’s when I whipped out Grey Magic, and for just under two hours I forgot about the cold and discomfort and focused all my energy on Raven Kane.
For the record, Raven Kane is a goddess. More accurately, she’s a witch from Joburg with a Twitter account; a modern-day sorceress with a herb garden, a menagerie of fantastic beasts (sic!) and a special talent for attracting trouble.
At the same time, she’s an ordinary woman like you and me with a lifetime or three’s supply of baggage. She procrastinates, she hates answering the phone, she lets her inbox clog up and she’s somewhat useless with the adult stuff; bills, mortgage, home repairs and what not. When the bank threatens to take away her home, Raven casts a spell with life-altering consequences.
Lawrence’s characterisation and world-building is excellent. I’ve always liked witches: Granny Weatherwax, Kiki (from Kiki’s Delivery Service) and Hermione Granger, to name a few. Raven Kane makes a welcome addition to that list. She’s sassy, sexy, independent, strong, caring and slightly cooked; everything you could want in a role model.
Which brings me to my favourite part of the book: Raven Kane’s house. I want to live in Colborn Manor with the special garden, the pony, the ancient tortoise, the screaming peacock, the two loyal dogs, the three cats, the multiplying rabbits and the blaspheming parrot. Hashtag life goals.
Grey Magic is a fast-paced, action-packed, cleverly written book with heaps of intrigue, mystery, folklore and a splash of romance.