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BLACK HAT MAGICK

Geeky Techno-Magical Mystery

By Shutsumon, author of Tales of the First

Jun 13, 2010: Goodness me, my second review of a Kyt Dotson work in less than a week. Another good one at that. Does that make me a fan? I guess it does.

Black Hat Magick is a contemporary fantasy mystery. The main character – Elaine – is a university student/tech support geek/paranormal detective. So often in modern fantasy magic and technology don’t mix. Not so in this universe, and that’s a refreshing change.

The story is a mystery. Elaine is hired to find out who’s fixing student elections by supernatural means, but even here there is a twist. Her employer is the beneficiary of the fraud, not the victim. The threats are smaller than your average urban fantasy, but as things develop they end up being bad enough.

It only gets better . . . 

Likes:

  1. Very interesting characters. Some people may find the tech and popular culture references annoying, but they are completely in character.
  2. I like the way magic and technology are not at odds.
  3. Nice clean layout.

Dislikes:

  1. The layout is clean, but it’s also light-on-dark which is a little annoying (and some people really don’t like it).
  2. There are a few typos (but I’ve seen a lot worse in traditionally published books)
  3. As with Mill Avenue Vexations I occassionally found myself skimming because nothing much was happening.

Verdict:

Yup, It’s another solid urban fantasy by Kyt Dotson. If that’s your thing go and read it now.

Unlike Vexations this one is finished. But I’m sure there’s a lot more tales could be told of Elaine and her colleagues, so I hope a sequel is planned.

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BLACK HAT MAGICK

Engaging, amusing and I can’t stop reading…

By Shandrydan, member

Feb 26, 2010: I stumbled on this today (it was the featured editors pick), and have so far read 9 chapters.

The main character is engaging and believable and there are some really nice supporting characters including her AI assistant and her best friend Frog.

Unlike the editors review (which I did not read before I read the story) I did not find the Star Wars, and other culture references annoying. I found that they are used appropriately (not overdone) and you could believe the character would actually use them in those circumstances. In fact I found it helped bridge two worlds: the world that we recognise and one that also contains gremlins and other psychic strangeness.

The writing has a comic edge to it – not laugh out loud, but definitely raises a smile.

I am looking forward to reading the rest.

Tonight.

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BLACK HAT MAGICK

an alternative detective story

By A. M. Harte, editor, author of Theatre of Horrors

Sep 6, 2009: Black Hat Magick currently stands at 13 chapters, and is promising to be a very exciting serial.

The story follows Elaine, a university student who, in her free time, works as a private detective. She is a skilled hacker, intelligent, and dismissive of authority. But she is equally knowledgeable about the ‘arcane’: the supernatural, and how magic and technology can mix.

When Elaine is hired by a member of the Student Council to investigate the possible corruption of the upcoming student elections, she isn’t aware of what she’s getting herself into. Each piece of the puzzle only raises further questions, and it doesn’t help that Elaine has problems of her own to deal with!

Black Hat Magick is an alternative detective story. It has the classic detective style of writing, full of detailed observations, and told from the point of view of a loner, an outsider to mainstream society. The characters are well-developed and entertaining, and the pacing is superbly planned, keeping you hungering for more.

It is set in an alternate universe much like our own, except, technologically-speaking, more advanced. The story offers a fresh take on stock fantasy critters: gremlins, for example, seem to be a destructive type of AI formed from static electricity.

The story is set at a university, but Black Hat Magick is not just another college story. The university setting is of only background importance, as the focus is on Elaine’s sleuthing activities.

The story is well-written and descriptive, although there are a smattering of typos. Be warned that there is a lot of technical jargon. While occasionally annoying, the use of tech speak did add to the credibility of the protagonist, and it hasn’t yet hindered my enjoyment.

My one complaint? The story often references popular culture (facebook, 4chan, Star Wars, etc), which, frankly, I find annoying.

The website itself is simple to navigate and relatively uncluttered. It does use the light-text-on-dark-background style, which I don’t mind, but some readers may find annoying.

Overall, an entertaining read with a constantly twisting plot line. I look forward to reading more.

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