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The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane) by Jaye Wells
Cover Artist: Craig White
Review by Drew Bittner
Orbit Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316037808
Date: 01 April 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Sabina Kane is back. On the run from her grandmother, she goes to New York City and discovers her twin sister--who turns out to be a powerful leader of the mage folk. Sabina hopes she can develop her sorcerous skills, augmenting her prowess as a vampire enforcer, but even she isn't ready for multiple attempts on her life.

In Mage in Black, vampire hitwoman Sabina Kane finds that the grass is not necessarily greener when she connects with the mage side of her heritage. Working with mage Adam Lazarus, she has a showdown with a trio of vampiric killers at a convenience store, then reaches NYC for a showdown of a different sort: a first-time meeting with her twin sister Maisie.

What she isn't ready for are the Big Apple's rules for supernaturals, which include no hunting in Central Park. That gets her into trouble with werewolves and The Shade, a mysterious figure who keeps the peace in the supernatural community. Turns out Sabina knows the Shade all too well, and isn't happy at meeting him once again, especially once that leads to her demon familiar Giguhl getting a very unexpected job.

The problem looming over the mages is the threat of war with the Dominae, the three ancient vampires who lead all vampire-kind. Sabina would be happy enough to have it out; she wants to take down her hateful, treacherous grandmother once and for all--but if the nefarious Caste of Nod has its way, Sabina will be taken out of the picture sooner rather than later.

Jaye Wells has delivered a solid, entertaining sequel to her debut, Red-Headed Stepchild. Where the first delved into vampire society, this novel gets into the world of the mages and how they work. Maisie, Sabina's twin, is a leader and an oracle; her visions help guide the Council, and her visions are of war... and of her sister achieving greatness. Wells sets this up nicely, giving Sabina a destiny where before she was more of a loose cannon.

She also delivers interesting new characters such as Rhea, who teaches Sabina how to tap into her dormant magical powers, and The Shade, whose history with Sabina threatens to topple a stable situation in New York. Giguhl gets plenty more page-time as well, which is great--he's a funny and effective foil for the somewhat grouchy and surly Sabina.

The central mystery in the story revolves around who is trying to kill Sabina and why. That mystery is resolved near the end, but not before setting up some high stakes for the next installment, Green Eyed Demon.

Here's to seeing more adventures of Sabina and her crew.

Recommended.

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