I’ve been a fan of Sonya Clark for a while now – I think I read Mojo Queen and Red House in a couple of days. So it was hardly surprising that I’d pick up Trancehack as well – it might have taken me a few months to get to it, but I’m glad I did!
Here’s the blurb from Amazon…
It’s 2065. Those born with magic abilities live in government-run zones, without rights or freedoms. Fear of magic created this segregated world and fear keeps it intact.
A high-profile murder brings Detective Nathan Perez to Magic Born Zone 13. He’s had little experience with the Magic Born and isn’t sure what to expect during his first encounter with a witch, but he never thought he’d be so drawn to her.
Trancehacker Calla Vesper uses magic to break into computers and aid the Magic Born underground. She has no interest in helping a cop, even if he is smoking-hot, but money’s tight and Nate offers a tidy amount for help navigating the Zone. Calla’s determined to keep it all business, but sparks start flying before the investigation even gets started.
When Calla’s trancehacking and Nathan’s investigation uncover a conspiracy, Calla becomes a target. Nate can protect her by keeping her role a secret—but then who will protect Nate?
It’s certainly a cool idea, and the blending of the magic and technology is a neat idea – it brings together considerations of nature among the urban landscape that I think are really ‘topical’ in contemporary times. Calla is a fiery character, frosty at first but likeable by the end, while Nate is one of those male leads you just wish you could meet in person. Do guys like him really exist? I hope so.
As with her other books, Sonya’s writing is fast-paced and doesn’t let up, taking you through the delights of the FreakTown club, Sinsuality, and pounding the grey utilitarian streets of the city. She perfectly captures that balance of futuristic and natural, while the gritty sense of segregation gives the book a post-apocalyptic feel, while also blending in a romantic sub plot and a police procedural storyline. I’m not sure what genre you’d call it, but I’m calling it ‘witchpunk’. It’s a lot of story for your money! The secondary characters are just as interesting, particularly club owner Vadim, although I warmed to Detective Mullins as a fatherly Danny Glover type of character.
Four out of five!