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Pure Magic (Black Dog Book 3) by Rachel…
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Pure Magic (Black Dog Book 3) (2015)

by Rachel Neumeier

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Pure Magic is set soon after the events of Black Dog and Black Dog Short Stories. The black dog community of Dimilioc has dealt with one threat, but they have other enemies out there - and things really don’t go to plan. The result is very tense with very high stakes, and I couldn’t put it down.

The story revolves around Justin, Dimilioc’s reluctant new member, and Natividad, and to a lesser extent, Alejandro. Justin has grown up unaware of his Pure Magic and without knowing any black dogs, and I appreciated the different perspective he brings - there are things he doesn’t accept or take for granted. Through his interactions, we also get to see different sides to some of the characters.

Unlike Justin, Natividad is very certain that she wants to be part of Dimilioc - but she’s still getting her head around what that actually means. She’s not yet sixteen, is wondering if Ezekiel interested in her for who she is or just for what she is, and she continues to be more concerned with protecting others than being protected.
I liked how the story - and certain characters too - ultimately deal with Natividad’s agency and her disobedience.

[Alejandro said] “You cannot put yourself in such danger. You know so much magic. We cannot lose you. I will not lose you, Natividad. You must stay safe. Who else would teach the little paloma or this new Pure boy?”
“Justin,” muttered Natividad. “His
name is Justin. And you need me, you know you do, especially if those Russian black dogs are going to be laying traps for you!”
“No,” Ezekiel and Alejandro said simultaneously, and glanced at one another, a fleeting glance that held, Natividad thought, wary approval on both sides. So that was something, at least; if all the guys in Natividad’s life were going to be infuriating, at least it could be a
bonding experience for them. She rolled her eyes, but was pretty sure neither of them noticed. ( )
  Herenya | Aug 19, 2017 |
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.
allthingsuf.com

BLACK DOG was my favorite book of 2014, and PURE MAGIC is everything I could have hoped for in a sequel. The black dogs of this world are a little darker, a littler more demonic than Urban Fantasy's usual shapeshifters. With sulfur and fire and violence in their hearts, they flow up through the human body, and burst into our world.

As promised in the title, PURE MAGIC focuses on the protective arts Natividad used in BLACK DOG. And with the introduction of Justin, a Pure boy with no concept of his own magic, readers have a new chance to learn about the "aggressively defensive" power that lives alongside all the violence of the black dogs. Though there are several instances where great peril is answered by spontaneous leaps in magical skill, the geometry of Pure magic and the ballet of Ezekiel whirling in and out of human form make these battles a visual delight. While I don't normally hope for movie adaptations, the characters and magic of the Black Dog world would be a pleasure in yet another medium.

Natividad and Ezekiel's story is what made me anxious to read more of the Black Dog series, and Neumeier delivered them and several other surprises as well. By the end I felt empathy for Grayson (a growly version of Giles, futilely trying to direct superhuman teens and all their impulsive power), grew to admire Keziah, and want so desperately to know more about the youngest black dogs of the pack. Like the best of worlds, every taste of this series just makes me hungry for more.

Sexual Content: A non-explicit sex scene, references to sex. ( )
  Capnrandm | Sep 16, 2015 |
While Natividad and her family have found security with Dimilioc and managed to defeat the Black Dog that tore their family apart and killed their parents, they are not safe

The world has changed – in the aftermath of the war with the vampires, Dimilioc is left weakened and surrounded by enemies. Her sanctuary is far from secure and the werewolves are beset on all sides: vampires, rogue Black Dogs and even a suspicious human government all

And it’s into this difficult world that Justin enters – Pure but with no knowledge of the supernatural world he’s part of and he’s not sure what to think of the savage monsters who are “offering” protection… whether he want it or not.

I do love this world setting. The whole concept of the vampires and the war with the werewolves is one that has been done before – but there are many more unique elements to it. The idea that vampires and their mind control managed to hide the supernatural – and with them dead and almost extinct that removes this “Miasma” and exposes all supernatural to humanity. The war against vampires quickly became a war between humans and Black Dogs as the more brutal and savage Black Dog organisations found themselves hunted down as the vampires were

Which leaves the Dimilioc, who value the Pure and try to behave in a civilised fashion without leaving a trail of bodies behind in a difficult position attacked from several sides: the remaining vampires still plot, they’re very understrength after the war, Black Dogs driven out from other countries trying to wipe them out are looking to carve their own territory out of Dimilioc line and, on top of that, the awkward and tentative peace with the human government and a population that is primed to fight after destroying the vampires who are not exactly on the Dimilioc’s side.

This whole, complex world is told excellently through the story. We get to address all of these and make them all work into the story without the story feeling overstuffed or with too many crowded elements which is a challenge in and of itself

At the same time it manages to be a very personal story of Natividad and Justin which is also excellent since both of them shows this world from very different angels. Natividad has always been very much in the supernatural community, even when hiding from it – which gives her a clear view on the world, vampires and Dimilioc. While Justin has lived his entire life as a human so has much less rose-tinted glasses (and much more ignorant view point) to look upon the monstrous Black Dogs. Together they bring a complete picture of the world.

This also really delves into the power of the Pure, their magic, their skills and their role in the world, Black Dog culture and the war against vampires.

I can’t emphasise enough how much is packed into this story – world building, character development, personal stories and so much more. But none of it FEELS full. The book isn’t super-long. It doesn’t feel distracted or overwhelmed or slow – there’s a lot there and I get all this experience and knowledge but don’t feel bombarded. It’s really well written

One thing that hasn’t improved is Natividad’s decision making. Aie aie aie, Natividad if you keep this up we’re going to have to rename the Clary award. I like this character, I want to like her more but my gods if she is not just the poster child for Spunky Agency!

Like most classic Spunky Agency, Natividad is an excellent challenge to the dictatorial commands of the pack leader, Grayson. It’s clear throughout the book and the series that you do what the pack leader says Or Else. I’m not actually sure what “or else” means because while he’s certainly arrogant and unwilling to accept any challenge, Grayson isn’t unreasonable. However, Natividad recognises that, as a Pure, all of that “Or Else” pretty much doesn’t apply to her – and it’s quite refreshing to see the oh-so-common alpha male werewolf commander being questioned and openly ignored by a woman while everyone else must leap to obey.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Aug 17, 2015 |
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