Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells


Dirty Magic
by Jaye Wells
Series: Prospero’s War #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Orbit, 2014
E-book, purchased
381 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn’t expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.

The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she’s convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she’s been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she’d never use dirty magic again.

Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.

The swoosh and thump from the potion vending machine hinted that one of my colleagues was helping himself to a late-night energy potion. I always found it ironic how many cops justified using clean magic to fight the dirty kind. . . . Black versus white, legal versus illegal. But anyone who cooked potions could tell you the line between the two was little more than vapor. Whether you used it with good intentions or ill, magic was magic, and instead of being black or white, most of it was smoke-screen gray.


  • I liked the book a lot more than I expected.
  • The world building really works for me. I feel like the author came up with an idea and then kept asking herself how would this change the world we know. And our world is changed a lot. This world has magic, wizards, potions, addicts.
  • I like that Kate has been a police officer. Though she hasn’t had an easy time in the police force–both because of her family and because she’s an Adept.
  • Kate jumps at a chance to improve herself by trying to join a task force.
  • I like the little details Wells adds to this world–left-handed people are more likely to be Adept.
  • This world was totally turned upside down when it was discovered that potions could change and affect people.
  • Now there are potion junkies.
  • The author had fun naming some of the potions–Excalibur for an energy potion, for example.
  • This is a dark and scary world. I can see lots of possibilities for future books.


  • I thought a certain character was involved in the new potion early on, but this character isn’t thought about by the characters until nearly the end of the book.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is another new urban fantasy series and I didn’t expect for it to stand out from all the others enough that I would want to read the next book. But I do!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book with magic)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading