Every fantasy author asks us to believe in a world created solely for the purpose of the story. Magic, of course, is a must. Then some number of magic workers and creatures - alchemists, vampires, elemental witches. And, of course, there are a few heroic human types to leaven the bread. Settings vary, but this time we find ourselves in San Francisco with a team of mages and warriors determined to root out those forms of magical creatures that consider humans as walking lunches. They are an Opposition task force, whose headquarters are in Seattle, and whose enemies lair in San Diego. All that saves us mundanes is a learned response to deny occult occurrences - what we won't see, can't hurt us - most of the time.
Suddenly San Francisco is the target of the vulture cult, a group that survives on human misery and anger and who will bring down the world if they can feed their god. This is an unequal struggle. Our team of eight consists of quirky individuals who argue and criticize as much as they coordinate. And the forces they are taking on are numerous, and armed with hell creatures like thin dogs and zombies. The odds definitely favor the end of life, as we know it.
For all their special abilities, the team works more like the A-Team than it does a magic circle, although their efforts at military precision often are more comic than effective. They are as likely to shoot an enemy as bespell it, but more often than not what saves them is a strong ability to beat a hasty retreat and a knack for having the right spell for the wrong reason. There is something vaudevillian about witches whose totem is a clam or houses that fly away when you press the panic button.
Zielinski keeps things going at the speed of a Chinese fire drill - there is no such thing as a time when someone isn't in dire need of help. Attitude is the rule of the day, as are wisecracks in the face of doom. What suffers in the flurry of action is character development, although all the star players are given enough initial depth to keep the reader in touch with them. Zielinski has laid the groundwork for a series with an interesting premise and sequels may accomplish what one volume cannot.
On the whole an enjoyable book, one I'm glad I took the small risk of reading. Perfect for the thrill seeker who thinks too many long incantations spoil the broth.