Book Review: Eileen Wilks’ Death Magic

Posted December 16, 2011 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Eileen Wilks’ Death Magic

Death Magic


Eileen Wilks

urban fantasy that was published by Berkley on November 1, 2011 and has 377 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Midnight Promises, Tied with a Bow, Mortal Ties, Ritual Magic, Unbinding, Mind Magic, Dragon Spawn,

Eighth in the World of the Lupi urban fantasy series revolving around Lily Yu, a Special Agent with the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division, and Rule Turner, a lupus carrying the mantles of two different Clans.

My Take

Humans First are plotting to turn more of the world against the lupi and it’s pretty tricky stepping through all the minefields they and their cohorts are setting for the good guys.

I don’t understand why Wilks think it’s important to have ghosts appearing to Lily before they die? That’s actually my only quibble. For the rest, Wilks had the tension turned up on high and just kept ratcheting it even higher as I read. I do love a story where I can figure out some of the final bits and even more when they have clever conclusions.

This whole series is a buy for me.

The Story

It’s a bad time for Lily and Rule. The increased danger due to the coming war has forced bodyguards onto Lily who is still on disability from that last shooting with which she was involved. The mantle she’s carrying is both helping and hindering her recovery as well as adding an extra complication to the war for which they must prepare. And now ghosts. Ghosts are showing up, trying to contact Lily.

Then Lily learns of a secret both Ruben and Rule have been keeping from her. A Shadow Unit not affiliated with any government. A concept Lily can’t accept. Oversight and regulations are essential in Lily’s book to prevent those who wish to do good from veering into making their own judgments. But without it, the world will end. All end in catastrophe for the world. Unless Shadow Unit is in operation.

And someone is setting Lily up, and Rule can’t help.

The Characters

Special Agent Lily Yu is a touch sensitive and an agent with Unit 12, the the FBI’s Magical Crimes Division. Her touch tells her if and what kind of magic is present. One of her cases resulted in her meeting Rule Turner, the Lo Nuncio for the Nokolai Clan. A fated meeting as it results in Lily being the Chosen for Rule. Events in Blood Challenge have resulted in Lily carrying a mantle for the Wythe Clan until a Rho can be found.

Rule Turner is a mega-hunk — I want one of these! He’s also the “face” of the lupi handling publicity and meetings with government officials. As Lo Nuncio, Rule is the heir to the Rho. He carries a part of the Nokolai mantle as heir; the Lady also chose to give Rule the Leidolf mantle. A unique event in lupi history. Lily is his mate, his Chosen. The only one of two Chosen in the entire world. A woman chosen by the lupi’s goddess as the ideal. Toby is Rule’s son by another woman. Isen Turner is the Rho, the ruler of Nokolai Clan, and Rule’s father. Benedict Turner is the chief of security for Nokolai. Each Clan has a Rhej; Ella is the Leidolf Rhej. Think of her as a type of shaman with all the memories of that Clan.

Cullen Seabourne is both lupus and sorcerer. It’s such a rare combination that when Cullen refused to give up his magical studies, his Etorri Clan threw him out. Took back his piece of the mantle. For years, he survived alone, learning his magic, hustling for money. Now, he’s become part of Nokolai Clan and has a mate, Cynna, and a daughter. Little Ryder is a female lupus. Another first for the lupi for daughters do not become lupus.

Ruben Brooks is a precog and Lily’s boss at Unit 12; he’s married to Deborah Brooks, a seventh-grade teacher. Ruben has always kept his work separate from his home life. He recently found out that he has fae blood which resulted in his allergies to metals particularly the aluminum found in the wheelchair he was in for so long. Martin Croft is the acting head of Unit 12 while Ruben is on medical leave. Harry is the leader of the brownies, allies of the Shadow Unit.

Sherry O’Shaunessy is the leader of the coven that consults with the FBI. Dr. Xavier Fagin is one of the leading authorities in the world on Pre-Purge magical history.

Special Agent Al Drummond is in charge of the first murder scene; he is so not happy that Lily is there. Agent Doug Mullins is his second; another jerk. Hannah Kuruc is the Crime Scene Officer and appreciates Lily’s skills. Annja Sjorensen has a minor patterning Gift and was recommended to the FBI for training by Lily.

Mika and Sam are dragons who are spread out around the world absorbing the excess magic that creates problems for the world. Mika is based in an amphitheater in Washington D.C. while Sam lives outside San Diego.

Robert Friar is a patterner, a Gift he received from the Great Bitch; he can change the future. Unit 12 thought he had died the last time he tried to destroy the world but events are making them question it. Dead or not, his organization, Humans First, is still active. Senator Bixton is a member. Paul Chittenden is the East Coast leader. Dennis Parrott is the senator’s speech writer who hides his own magical gift.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a collage of the story with a wolf’s head as part of the sky above the Potomac River leading to the Washington Monument and a ready-for-action Lily, her loose hair flying in the breeze, wearing jeans, stiletto boots, and a low-cut black tank top as she hunkers down one leg stretched out and her gun casually pointing toward the ground. My initial reaction was “oh, no, that’s not Lily” but Lily is wearing more jeans these days…

The title is all too accurate for Unit 12 and the lupi are battling Death Magic.