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Sep 10

Book Review: Parasitic Souls

Parasitic SoulsParasitic Souls by Kater Cheek

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is set neither in the Kit Melbourne world nor in the Desert Mages world, but a different alternate world in which magic works. The working title was “Slow Magic Apocalypse” because it was based on the idea that magic started working slowly.

The book that inspired me, oddly enough, was The Disappearing Spoon, a book which talks about the elements of the periodic table. I kept thinking about what it would be like to be a chemist in the early to mid-20th century, the forefront of new exploration, where someone bold enough and lucky enough could get an element named after themselves, or their country. I then thought about the tech boom of the late nineties and early 21st century. Remember when you could start a website that may or may not become huge overnight and make you and your techie startup founder friends all millionaires? What if there were a similar boom for magic? I practiced playing in this world by writing a few short stories (“Joey and his Undead Dog” and “Sleeps With the Fishes”) and then began writing this in 2010.

I finished this book in 2011, but a lot happened to me personally in the years since then, and I didn’t manage to publish it until this year. I worked with Fiona Jayde Media on the cover. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted for the cover, so it was mostly a matter of finding the images and explaining how I wanted it. With the creepy old woman image in her eye, there’s the idea of someone else looking out from inside. Fiona Jayde made the i in Parasitic a different color. Someone asked why, and I said “the i is different because the eye is different.” I think that’s pretty cool.

So if you’re reading this far down, you probably want to know what the book is about. Well, it’s about love, and it’s about magic. It’s not just a love story, it’s several love stories. Fiona (the main character) falls in love with Xavier, a brujo-in-training. Sophie, a girl who makes magical wards for a living, is in love with her cousin Marcello, who teaches magic at the local charter high school. Walter, who develops the technology to magically transfer souls from one body to another, is inspired by his love for his wife Irene. Irene is inspired by her love for her dogs. Magic touches everyone’s lives differently, but mostly in the same way that technology touched everyone’s lives differently at the beginning of this century. It’s a new world, and the mages young and old are trying to find their place in it.

I have labeled this as young adult (YA) because the main character is a young adult (her early twenties) and the other main characters range from 18 to 27 or so. It’s actually more “emerging adult” because it’s about that precarious time after high school when you’re no longer dependent, but you still haven’t quite got the hand of independence yet either. It’s a very appropriate book for teens, who are probably quite curious about life after high school, but adults can read it too. There’s very little violence, very little swearing, and no sex, but a few tense scenes and a tight plot. In short: this is a great book for anyone who likes magic or romance or adventure.

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