What do you get when you take a pretty, but otherwise average, easy-going, modern American woman and suddenly embroil her in a world of vampires, demons, and other secret supernatural threats that lurk in the shadows of our everyday world, introducing her along the way to a brooding, menacing, snarky, but ultimately good vampire who happens to be the hottest man she’s ever seen? Well, if you’re lucky you get Buffy! If you’re not so lucky, you might end up with Night Pleasures.
There are probably people out there who would love this book, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite right for me.
The only expectations I went in to Magic or Die with came from the summary that I read on Goodreads, and it really made it sound like it sound like the kind of story I would be into: characters with traumatic pasts and emotional depth, high stakes involving the commodification and trafficking of magically gifted people, and a queer romance subplot. All things that I love and look for in my stories. However, Magic or Die didn’t really deliver on much of that. The seriousness and the drama of the situation were watered down by a strange mess of world-building that didn’t really make sense, hackneyed villains (at one point there was a non-ironic use of the word henchmen), and a very awkward romance between the main character and one of his students.