The Southern Magicks by Ashton K. Rose

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and finished copy from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Southern Magicks

Author: Ashton K. Rose

Book Series: The Southern Magicks Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Diversity: Gay MC, M/M/NB

Recommended For…: fantasy, queer, LGBT, magic, mystery

Publication Date: August 22, 2022

Genre: Fantasy

Age Relevance: 18+ (death, violence, language, prejudice, homophobia, romance, sexual content)

Explanation of Above: There is death mentioned and violence detailed in the book. There is a lot of cursing. There is some sexual content and romance. There are showings and mentions of prejudice and homophobia.

Publisher: Geekaflame Publishing

Pages: 216

Synopsis: A month ago, a demon tore the thin veneer of a normal life I’d crafted apart when it almost killed me. Revealing my husband, Eli, as the prodigal son of a powerful magic family.

When I grew up, I walked away from magic. Left my remote hometown and pretended the ghosts Gran taught me to see weren’t there while I went to university to become a librarian.

Our one secret tightly held to my heart.

Never let them know!

Two years later, with no other financial option, I moved back to my small hometown.

It was easy to pretend the fuzzy gaps in my memory weren’t there as I got a job under the strict woman who almost killed my childhood love of books.

I thought everything was perfect when I married my dream guy.

Then the attack happened.

The “good” folks at the local magical law enforcement agency knew about me the whole time. They’ve pressured me to work for them as an exorcist because they’re convinced I was a vigilante who committed multiple murders. My odd, intriguing mentor Cory watches for any misstep as I avoid the seduction attempt he’s been asked to perform.

Now they’ve accused my estranged older brother of taking over my “crimes.” I know I was framed, despite the gaps in my memory.

The worst part?

The only people who seem to believe me are my friend June and my journalist cousin Kat.

Eli, filled with spite for the local magical rulers, seems to know something I DON’T and thinks I should play them at their own game and seduce my mentor, so we can interrogate him together…

Review: For the most part this was a good book. It has an interesting concept and I loved the magic in this book. It felt a bit men-in-black like with all the secrets and stuff and I also thought it was interesting how the different families were intertwined. The MC himself, while not my favorite, was intriguing and kept me motivated to continue the story. The book has a lot of bookish elements in it that make a bit of an easter egg hunt for readers. I thought that the book was evenly paced and it has the potential to be an amazing magical and bookish book.

However, the book still needs some work in my opinion. The characters and world building are not fully developed, which is a shame since this is set in Australia and I wanted to know more about how magic and Australia could combine, and the interactions between the characters just felt very off. The beginning of the book is a mess and it feels almost like I skipped a book, like there’s a book before this one I need to read to understand this one. This is another one where I feel reading the synopsis first is a necessary, which is not something I particularly like. The book is better the more you go into it, but that beginning is a bit off-putting.

Verdict: It’s good just needs a little more work on the front end.

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