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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Of Mice and Men" Meets Magic, and it's a Gas
This is a sneaky book and it doesn't really amp up until a quarter of the way through. Allow me to explain.

Our two heroes are Lem and Mags, two small time Tricksters. Lem is George to hulking slow witted Mags' Lenny. They just get by on small time magics, (glamouring ones into twenties), because real magic takes blood, (the "gas" that fuels the magical...
Published 2 months ago by Ancient Mariner

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3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Gritty Urban Fantasy about Blood Magic
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss.)
Lem is a trickster - someone who uses blood to perform magic. Lem's magic is pretty basic - making dollar bills appear to be larger bills, and cheating at cards. He does have limits though, while others use other peoples blood - bleeders, to fuel...
Published on 1 Mar. 2013 by Sarah


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Of Mice and Men" Meets Magic, and it's a Gas, 23 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Trickster (The Ustari Cycle) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a sneaky book and it doesn't really amp up until a quarter of the way through. Allow me to explain.

Our two heroes are Lem and Mags, two small time Tricksters. Lem is George to hulking slow witted Mags' Lenny. They just get by on small time magics, (glamouring ones into twenties), because real magic takes blood, (the "gas" that fuels the magical spells), and Lem has a hard and fast rule to never use any blood for magic except his own blood.

We follow the two around the fringes of the magic community, watching their small time antics, learning about how magic works and who the major players are, and every now and then glancing off of an unsettling clue or suggestion that big things may be in the works. You might be tempted to drift away from the book because it sometimes feels like it will just be a sad, (although often wryly funny), tale of marginal magical losers working some hustle. Wait.

A quarter of the way through, (MILD SPOILER ALERT), Lem and Mags stumble across the path of a major magical player, unintentionally mess up a big time magical scheme, and find themselves running from powerful enemies, trying to save innocent players, and calling in favors from trustworthy and not so trustworthy members of the magical community. This is a thriller that takes off like a rocket, and lots of little things you learned in the first part of the book start falling into place to form a larger and very involving picture.

The book has a realistic, gritty feel. It's urban noir, but it doesn't feel forced or arch. There is a natural feel to the magic and a realistic feel to the grifters who float around the edges. Small time losers feel right, the villains are merciless, and our heroes are from the classic hard-boiled decent school. It's dark and bloody and violent, but only in service to the magic that fuels the plot. It's a gas.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Thin Red Line, 3 Mar. 2013
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J. Finn "slightly funny" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trickster (The Ustari Cycle) (Mass Market Paperback)
Trickster centers around Lem - one of the world's blood mages. . In this world there are two types of mages - those who use bleeders and those who supply their own blood for their magics. Lem is one of the latter a Trickster level mage soley by choice.

The title comes from how the low-ranking, barely enough skill for small magics, mages refer to themselves. They are a community of con artists, thieves and grifters. They survive using little spells like making a crumpled up one dollar bill appear as a twenty. Running small cons for small gains.They run their Magic on Gas ( freshly spilled blood) most like Lem use their own whether because like Lem they have a code or they just dont have the skill to work more dangerous and volitle spells that require the blood of others or even death. They're scraping by and for the most part ignore (and are ignored themselves) by the more powerful magic users of the world whose greater skills or matched for their disregard for human life. At least that's how it was for Lem before he found Claire Mannice tied up in the trunk of a car. Now Lem's in the thick of it and fighting just to keep himself and his friends alive.

Where the book is so interesting where it excels is in the morality, or lack of it, of Blood Magic. Lem has skills but is severly hampered by his own ethics the reasons for why this grifter and conman draws the line at bleeders and his struggles at keeping his code are some of the best parts of the story.In essence, as Lem says throughout the story Blood Mages are not nice people, and this story is driven by the struggles and differences between those small time con men, ,selfish , venal and of dubious morals and the Arch Mages, Blood Mages of staggering Power and almost complete Sociopaths. This book isnt so much about the struggle of good and Evil as it is, the struggle between not as Bad and Evil.

Dark but humourous, cool world building and a nice dash of romance , Trickster is worth checking out, it wont be to everyones taste, but for those willing to try they will find one of the best Urban Fantasys of recent years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, gritty magic fueled urban fantasy, 26 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Trickster (The Ustari Cycle) (Mass Market Paperback)
In this gritty, claustrophobic, secret world, magic is fueled by gas - in other words blood.

Trickster is the first book in dark urban fantasy series. I found myself pulled into the depths of depravity that defines this hidden world of the magic. It was a grueling, unpredictable and thrilling read.

I've read a lot of fantasy and Jeff Somers' world is one of the grittiest I've encountered and his originality is not to be missed. For reference, Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam is probably the closest in the disregard those in the know hold for the rest of the world.

Unlike Kane's world, here it's Lem, a so-called Trickster - the lowest-ranked of magic users - who refuses to behave like other magic-users and make others bleed for him. There's a lot of world building in the early part of the story, quite a few terms to learn; however, with this done, the pace picks up.

As the series continues I hope we'll see more fully developed characters. Lem is the most dynamic and fully developed person in Trickster. His partner, Mags, less so. The rest of the characters serve their purpose, but could use a bit more definition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More dammit! want more :), 24 Aug. 2013
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Well worth a read. Full of great characters and an interesting take on magic in general. Hope there are follow on books :):
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Entertaining, 21 Oct. 2013
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M. Adams "businessman" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trickster (The Ustari Cycle) (Mass Market Paperback)
Unlike the cover, the book is a fast, enjoyable urban fantasy where the use of magic comes at a cost. An easy and quick book to read, looking forward to book 2.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't disappoint, 9 May 2013
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I was reluctant to buy this book - I'd loved the Avery Cates series, but thought the leap from sci-fi dystopian action anti-hero to a guy who cuts himself to do magic sounded a bit too 'Twilight' for me. And the moody/emo vibe from the cover certainly didn't help...

I'm happy to say that my fears were largely unfounded. On the whole I really enjoyed this book and this world. I love Jeff Somer's characters and their perpetual weariness. The whole magic aspect was handled in a way I could buy into and after the climatic conclusion I'm looking forward to the next instalment in the saga.

My only one issue (and the reason for the dropped star) is with the self-harm. I understand that blood is currency but the self-cutting is a bit glamorised and makes it seem cooler than self-harm should ever be.

Other than that I'd recommend this book. It's certainly not Twilight and you certainly won't regret it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book., 27 Mar. 2013
What to say about this book. I loved the characters and the story line, I thought the method of creating magic by using blood, or gassing as Jeff wrote it, was clever. It made a change to have a different method to create the magic.

I was shocked at the lengths some people would go to to live forever, all those girls that had been marked and snatched and prepared for a big ritual. The idea that over the centuries, wars and sacrifice's had been done to create major magic.

The friendship between Lem and Mags is....unique. I don't know many guys that would take care of each other as they do. Lem's morals are kind of strict too. The way he refuses to do any magic that has been gassed by someone else's blood, only taking what he thought was reasonable when he and Mags' worked a charm. Then falling for a girl who has been marked for a ritual and doing everything he can to save her. Even though he says he's not a nice guy, he really is.

I don't want to say too much about the plot of this book, I'm very tempted but I will bite my tongue, or in this case not type anything. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who is looking for something a bit different.

I'm fairly certain that this is the first in a series and I shall be buying the next as soon as it becomes available.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Gritty Urban Fantasy about Blood Magic, 1 Mar. 2013
By 
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss.)
Lem is a trickster - someone who uses blood to perform magic. Lem's magic is pretty basic - making dollar bills appear to be larger bills, and cheating at cards. He does have limits though, while others use other peoples blood - bleeders, to fuel their magic, Lem will only use his own, which often leaves him woozy, and limits how much magic he can do.

One day Lem and his best mate Mags find themselves in a sticky situation. Not only do they have a dead body to dispose of, a priceless super-powerful artefact to deal with, and a missing marked-up naked girl on the run, but as it turns out, all three of these belong to the most powerful woman alive, who is, oh yeah... a serial killer.

Now Lem must figure out what to do next. He's usually more concerned with finding some way to pay for breakfast rather than searching for a missing girl and trying not to get killed, but needs must.
Can Lem find the missing girl? Can he return her and the artefact without getting himself killed? And what sort of spell is the girl to be used for?

This book was pretty gritty, and although Lem could do magic he was known to be one of the lesser mages, and his magic was nothing compared to the stuff he's inadvertently found himself mixed up in.

There were some moments I found odd in this book, right at the beginning Lem finds a dead girl in a bathtub and wonders how he can make money out of this discovery - what? And later, Mags comes back from the grocery store with bourbon, Lem comments how `liquor is not food', and Mags says that he didn't want to waste their last $40 on food!

The use of magic, and the environment that this book was set in kind-of reminded me of drug users - they stayed in some really nasty places, never had any money, and Lem was constantly cutting himself for blood to power his magic. They seemed to be always scared of those who had more magic than them, and after landing themselves in the mess they were in, they had the threat of this most powerful woman hanging over their heads too.

The ending left an opening for further books following this one, but I don't think I'd want to read them to be honest, this was a little too gritty for me. It's the sort of thing that I would expect my older brother to enjoy though.
Overall; gritty urban fantasy about blood magic.
6.5 out of 10.
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Trickster (The Ustari Cycle)
Trickster (The Ustari Cycle) by Jeff Somers (Mass Market Paperback - 26 Feb. 2013)
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