Book Review: The Curse Merchant by JP Sloan

The Curse Merchant (The Dark Choir #1)The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dorian Lake has an unusual job. He sells hexes and charms to people who feel they need a bit of help from the magical side of things. For the last couple of years, however, he’s been having a bit of a slump. Following a devastating break up with his girlfriend, he began to neglect his clients, ignore his friends and kept a less-than-watchful eye on the rental properties he owns. It isn’t until a confrontation with a gun-wielding disgruntled client that he realizes how much he has let things slide. Determined to get back in the game, Dorian begins to work on getting new clients, reconnecting with his friends and learning what he can about the Mage who seems to have cornered the Baltimore market while Dorian was moping around.

Lake makes for a great protagonist. He’s smart, witty and more-than-a-bit charming, though he can be a jerk at times, too. His saving grace there is that he has the self-awareness to know he’s a jerk and a genuine desire to set things right. Too bad for him that most of his efforts to do so end up backfiring on him, always costing him something and sometimes at a very high price.

This is the first book in what promises to be a really good series. Dorian is really quite a bit of fun, and the side characters are all well-written and three-dimensional. The magical world Sloan has created is unique – magic can be built on someone’s karma, which helps mitigate blowback, or it can be crafted with dark energies that are very dangerous to mess with. Dorian is committed to using only karmic magic, though after he’s tricked into giving up something quite precious, the dark side begins to look more tempting. It will be interesting to see how far Dorian may end up falling – and if he’s able to save himself before he meets a grisly fate.

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