Marla Mason is the fascinatingly
prickly protagonist in the first of
what promises to be an exciting and compulsively readable new urban
fantasy series. Pratt has a deft touch with characterization and plot, fusing magical elements with more mundane details easily and seamlessly.

Sorcerer and guardian of the small and decaying city of Felport, Marla is in a bit of a pickle: A rival sorcerer is planning a spell to obliterate her and take over her city. Her only recourse is to head to San Francisco, where there's a magical artifact that can help her place a counterspell.

But when Marla arrives, she discovers it's not going to be a quick job; there are serious problems in the magical community, centered on the artifact. The only way that she's going to be able to get to it to cast her counterspell is to involve herself in the local scene and discover who's picking off the local talent one by one. (Bantam Spectra, Oct., 368 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs