Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Paige is a 23-year-old witch and the only daughter of the murdered coven leader who has been taking care of recently orphaned 13-year-old witch Savannah. When Savannah is pursued by a dangerous Cabal leader (the wizard equivalent of a coven) and a telekinetic half-demon, Paige does everything she can to protect the strong-willed teen. But it is not only dangerous enemies that Paige must protect her from, it is also Savannah’s darker side (learned from her mother, who liked to practice the dark arts).

With the help of a Cabal leader’s son, Lucas Cortez, Paige fights for Savannah’s life and magic (she must hold a specific ceremony at a specific time to ensure the full growth of her abilities), for her coven (which is being lead by old-fashioned women who were too spooked by the witch trials to be strong and bold), for love (not surprising that she a Cortez fall for each other), for her mother’s vision of the future (where the coven comes into their own full powers), and for the secrecy of magic from the rest of the world.

Armstrong does a strange, if bizarre, job of integrating the magical and real worlds. The magic-users fight in the legal world in an attempt to gain Savannah’s guardianship, and then resort to magical intimidation when that does not work. As a repercussion for the magic and deaths, the small town where Paige lives protests against her (because the think she is a devil-worshipper). The coven turns their backs on her in fear of being exposed and hunted. Paige acts much older than her 23 years and I almost wonder if it is worth making her so young. It doesn’t matter much, but it feels like we’re reading about a thirty year old and you forget she’s so young until it gets mentioned by someone. It is almost more distracting than anything else. Despite this minor flaw, Paige is a strong, determined heroine who is easy to root for.

Though this isn’t strictly the first book in the series (Women of Otherworld), you can easily pick it up and understand everything that is going on.

The weakest point of the book for me was the opening, which is a little slow and hard to get into. Once we actually meet Paige and start dealing with her problems, the book really comes to life.

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