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  • Writer's pictureSarah Henne

Book Review: Magic on the Cards by Marina Finlayson

The Cartomancer's Guide to Werewolves Series Book I

A New Adult & College Urban Fantasy

This was the first book I picked from my SPFBOX group (Covers with Cassidy) and the reason was it ticked three boxes right off the bat. Witchy, UF, and set in Australia (with an Aussie author of course). During this round of SPFBO I am trying to read and review as many of the books within the group as I can!

We meet Sunday, a weak cartomancer, as she attempts to help her vampire friends locate whatever has been murdering people in her small rural town. While the supernatural world has been outed to the whole world, they still have rules and laws to follow, ones enforced by the Soldiers of Light who are all werewolves. To make matters worse for Sunny, cartomancers have been almost hunted to extinction by Soldiers who claim they are witches and evil.

Cartomancers are always woman and Soldiers are always men, so you can see where I’m going with this. On her way home Sunny accidently hits someone on a motorbike (totally his fault FYI) despite the bone clearly protruding out of his skin, he refuses a hospital and promptly passes out so she drives him to her place. But once he is sleeping she realizes his wounds weren’t as bad as they first appeared, and that he is a Soldier, someone who would kill her without hesitation. But when the bodies start piling up, she refuses to run away from her first permanent home and teams up with the Soldier and the vampires to protect innocent people.

While this series is a romantasy, book 1 is a serious slow burn which earns it lots of points from me. The chemistry between these two was done well and didn’t get in the way of the story. I really loved the magic, cartomancers use tarot cards to create their spells, cards that they create themselves and build their deck as they grow stronger. The way Sunny would build a spell using the tarot cards was interesting and made it feel very unique as well as realistic. Overall it was a fun, quick, and entertaining story, strong found family vibes as well as chosen family themes.

The only criticism I have for this book is . . . that the cover clearly isn’t an Australian forest XD It is pretty but I would’ve loved to see an Australian landscape, but maybe that’s not appealing in this genre.

Will it make you cry? Tugs at the heart strings as Sunny has a pretty sad backstory.

Romance? Yes? As I said this is a slow burn, so book one is laying a lot of the ground work for the rest of the series.

Spicy? Nope. Don’t even get a kiss.

Humor? A few one liners and witty banter

YA/NA? I’d class this as New Adult/Adult. This is Sunny’s first time living in the same place for more than a few weeks, so she is still learning to adult, and there is a strong focus on friendship, family, and community so it has a more adult feel.

Fight Scenes? Yes, but poor Sunny is more on the “Ah sh*t! Run away!” end. She isn’t a fighter and her magic takes time to set up, while those around her might do more of the butt kicking, she is still there doing her best.

Soft/Hard magic? Hard. Magic has rules and boundaries, while we might not know all the limitations or how to use the different magics, it’s still there.

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