‘Street Magick’ is an anthology of urban fantasy that starts off really well, featuring some great stories during the first half of the book. Unfortunately, after around the halfway point my interest began to wane a little and I found some of the stories to be a little lacklustre.
First thing to mention is the artwork. I think it’s terrific and it’s one of the reasons I became interested in the book. As for the stories inside, well, things get off to an unusual and quite a dark start with the tale from John Claude Smith. I’ve read some of John Claude Smith’s other works and I’m a fan. This story was quite poetic and really well-written, typical of his style. It revolves around a woman’s transformation into a goddess, the Hindu goddess Kali (I Think?!). I’m not sure if I would’ve enjoyed this as much if it wasn’t by John Claude Smith, he is an excellent wordsmith and brings a real sense of originality and magic to this tale. The next few stories were also strong. A spanish servant girl enters the services of the mysterious Mr Vlesco. Is Mr Vlesco a vampire? And what lurks inside his room full of jars? A really good story this one, creepy and a little weird too. Also during the first half of the book, a bounty hunter comes face-to-face with his past and an ancient evil in an old cabin, and a story about a strange family that run security at a casino – really liked this one, very original. By far my favourite story was by Evan Osborne, called ‘How To Beat a Haunting’, this tale features a real estate worker who comes into contact with a ghost hunter. When the door to a property they are looking at closes a whole new world unfolds before them and a battle against some other-worldly monsters ensues. I really enjoyed this one and didn’t want it to end, great stuff. ‘Deaths Harvest’ by Nicole Givens Kurtz is another I also enjoyed. It is a story about reapers and what happens when then don’t fill their monthly quota!
As we get into the second half of the anthology, the stories began to pass me by a little, perhaps with the exception of ‘The Gift’ by Charles P. Zaglanis, which was quite emotional and a nice change, the stories just didn’t excite me quite in the same way the earlier ones did. ‘Choose Your Own Excuse’ was a little different in that you get to choose the path of the story. Great idea! Unfortunately, the story didn’t do much for me at all and was another that just sort of passed me by. For other readers they might see things differently, but for me personally as I got closer to the end of the book I was beginning to lose interest.
‘Street Magick’ has some real gems, stories with original ideas, good characters and tales that are well-written. It does have a few duds as well. It’s different strokes for different folks and whilst some didn’t resonate with me that isn’t to say they won’t with you. Anthology mileage varies. I like anthologies with a strong theme and stories that really embrace the theme. For this reader ‘Street Magick’ is a bit of a mixed bag overall.
Pick up a copy from here.