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Dime Store Magic: Women of the Otherworld    by Kelley Armstrong order for
Dime Store Magic
by Kelley Armstrong
Order:  USA  Can
Bantam, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

After the death of her mother, Paige Winterbourne assumes the mantle of 'Coven Leader'. Her sister witches (all of them considerably older) are horrified at this turn of events. When Paige suggests that it's time for Covens to stop hiding behind their veils of secrecy and reveal themselves to other 'supernaturals', especially to the all male sorcerer 'Cabals', she and her modern ideas are all but shunned. The witches insist they're perfectly content to keep themselves hidden away in the shadows as they've done ever since the Salem trials.

Paige's involvement with the Cabals comes more swiftly than she anticipates when the father of her young ward, Savannah, begins custody proceedings. Neither Paige nor Savannah knew that her father is a sorcerer. Not only does Kristof Nast want custody of his only daughter, but he sends half demon Leah O'Donnell to expedite matters. This doesn't sit well with either Paige or Savannah, since Leah previously betrayed them and caused the death of Savannah's mother. Both young women would rather see Leah eviscerated than standing on their front door step, brandishing custody papers and a smug smile. However, they realize the risks in going against the powerful Cabals. Things get even more interesting when Lucas Cortez, lawyer at large and son of another powerful Cabal leader, offers them 'reasonably priced' legal assistance. Is this bookish do-gooder for real? Or is it just another clever ploy orchestrated by Leah?

Dime Store Magic is the third in Armstrong's stunning Women of the Otherworld series. While the first two books (Bitten and Stolen) focus on werewolves, the author introduces another branch of her supernatural tree here -- the secretive world of witches and sorcerers. Paige's first person perspective dominates the story. She works to keep her small town Coven together, and struggles to wear her dual mantle of Leader and Savannah's guardian. Savannah, whose powers are yet to be fully realized, teeters a fine line between embracing white or the more powerful dark magic. Armstrong also sets up an interesting relationship between Paige and Lucas Cortez, the nerdy black sheep of the Cortez Cabal, whose own background and familial animosities have all sorts of story potential as well.

After only three books, Kelley Armstrong has proven her talent in creating a truly imaginative and trendy realm. If you're into supernatural stories with a fresh twist, Dime Store Magic is just what you're looking for.

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