Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Digital Magic by Philippa Ballantine

Digital Magic was a free e-book sent to me by my friend Renee, my favorite book-pimp.
Though it took me several days to read it (I'm not used to reading books on a computer screen) Digital Magic is only 276 pages long, and is well worth the effort of sitting in front of your iMac or PC for hours on end.
The story takes place in Penherem, a tourist village in England, complete with manor house/castle and a woman of noble heritage to run it. Each character in the book makes clear that they're on a quest, personal or professional, to find whatever magic is left in the world, and help it to flourish once again.
Ella is a young woman who works at the manor house in the kitchen, telling tourists how food used to be made and served in days of yore. Her friend Bakari, (who turns out to be related to her) is a computer whiz with a 'line' imbedded in his head to help him access the virtual world, ala Melissa Scotts 'jacked in' people from her SF books 20 years ago, and Syne Mitchells internet 'jewelry' that is also accessed via wetware that is implanted. Ronan is a centuries-old Fairy who was once known as Puck, and he's been hired by an old and evil fae named Greer who wants Bakari and Ronan to find a magic mask that connects the human world, the fae world and the unseen realm of evil. Meanwhile, there's a little girl who talks to the forest folk in New Zealand whose grandmother is a goddess and whose village is wiped out by a 'seed' from the realm of evil. We learn her story gradually, each chapter interspersed with pages about the modern-day characters of Ella and her friends. The plot gets fairly convoluted, and the prose is more formal and subtextural than normal American-authored fiction, which leads me to believe the author is from the UK or New Zealand. However, the characters are well-drawn, interesting people and the adventures and scrapes they get into are fascinating, though a touch too gory for my tastes. Other than some copyediting for typos, there is little that this book needs to be ready to hit the shelves in August.
I particularly enjoyed how well the author knit together the two main storylines and still managed to have an HEA. I believe readers of the steam punk genre, those who like cyberpunk novels and those who appreciate a good paranormal romance will all love Digital Magic.

1 comment:

PhilippaJane said...

Thanks for the kind word DeAnn. Yes, the author Philippa Ballantine (me) is indeed from New Zealand. I'm glad you enjoyed the free pdf, and I just wanted to let you know that it was created from an uncorrected proof- which I have just now signed off on, so the physical book will be better presented. The novel set before DM, Chasing the Bard is one I am currently podcasting, at chasingthebard.com. Thanks for taking the time to review my work.