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City of Broken Magic: Chronicles of Amicae #1    by Mirah Bolender order for
City of Broken Magic
by Mirah Bolender
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2018 (2018)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's an intriguing new fantasy world in which relatively isolated cities all have magical bomb squads (Sweepers) who fight off voracious infestations that eat magic, and anything else they encounter along the way. City of Broken Magic is the first in Mirah Bolender's Chronicles of Amicae. The problem is that magic items are also used extensively in this world for heating, lighting and so on.

Laura is an apprentice, mentored and trained by Amicae's only remaining Sweeper, Clae Sinclair. She respects him greatly and they work well together, but she wonders what he keeps hidden behind black drapes. The two Sweepers work closely with the police but the city's Council is in denial about the increasing danger and demands secrecy. In addition to their regular work, they are hired by a First Quarter gentlewoman to find a dangerous amulet in her home - in return she offers Clae his choice of anything in the mansion. His pick? He asks for Okane, an enslaved and abused Magus, as his new apprentice.

At first, Laura is jealous of the addition to their team, but she gradually learns to like and value Okane - a good thing as the city's infestations are escalating to a tsunami of danger. This first episode ends on a cliffhanger, and Laura learns what was behind the black curtain. Though the story meanders more than I like, it's worth persisting with this unusual, and action-packed fantasy.

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