Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman

Book Details
Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman
Paperback, 336 pages
2010, Luna
ISBN: 0373803133
Series: Book 1 of Paranormal Scene Investigations

Bonnie Torres was a twenty-something Talent, fresh out of college and looking for a job. Instead, it found her.

P.U.P.I. stands for Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations. Because in a world where magic is just as common as electricity, abuse of that power is inevitable. And sometimes only a Talent can solve a Talented crime...

Welcome to P.S.I.

I loved Hard Magic. It wasn't particularly thrilling or suspenseful, but so supremely interesting that I could not put it down. The set-up, the characters and the concept all screamed originality. Laura Anne Gilman put forth some good, old-fashioned creativity that made the story something different and therefore something special.

Magic users (aka Talent) can create any type of spell by using basic scientific logic. The team, P.U.P.I (Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations), uses these spells to find and analyze forensic evidence while investigating Talent on Talent crime.

I really enjoyed Gilman's method of naming the characters. Instead of over the top magically showy names, each character has an average Joe name. Bonnie, Ben, Nick. It relates well with the concept that these characters are average people, just with the ability to use magic. Each character on the team has their own strengths and weaknesses that they offer the group, making each better suited for different aspects of an investigation. Bonnie is a refreshing main character. While the book didn't have any blatantly sexual scenes, we learn that Bonnie is very comfortable with her sexuality. She's not one to be labeled, but she does like both men and women based on their personalities rather than their genitals. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a character not hung up on sexual morality while reading a book without explicit sex scenes.

I'm excited there is going to be further books building on what's started in Hard Magic as the story could really be taken anywhere. I'm interested to see if the focus shifts to more mystery or if it remains on the magical aspect of the investigations. Either way, Hard Magic is a fantastic start to a new series.


Laura Anne Gilman's


  1. Great review! I've never heard of this book before, but I think I will check it out now. :)

  2. I loved her Retrievers series but I didn't know about this one! Thanks a bunch!

  3. Excellent review!! I seen this one a while ago and placed it on my TBR pile but this is the first review I've read! Mahalo!!

  4. Thank you for the review! I was already interested in this book (love the storyline), now it is a must get!