Book Reviews: Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

Dime Store Magic: 4/5 stars
Industrial Magic 4/5 stars

It took me a loooooong time to get around to continuing this series with Dime Store Magic. I loved Bitten and Stolen, but found myself a little bitter that the series would start following different characters from there. I think my overall sentiment was “well, if continuing is going to feel like starting a new series, it doesn’t matter when I read them (salty reader, party of one).” For the most part, that was true. The story in books 3&4 focuses on Paige and her involvement in the witch and sorcerer communities (Elena’s story is a footnote, and werewolves take a backseat to other supernatural beings). It does tie back to Stolen, but more in a spin-off kind of way.

I’m not going to lie – I didn’t hate it.

I think I can see what Armstrong is trying to do with the series, and think nowadays I’m more in the mood to appreciate a series that takes a little longer to get to the payoff. What it has going for it are interesting and sassy female characters (I think Paige is one of the most relatable uf leads I’ve come across even if she is a little typical), good mysteries, romance, and writing that you can really lose yourself in. The story components weren’t earth-shattering, but I absolutely love where I think it’s going and look forward to seeing through some potential plot points.

Dime Store Magic offered a good Kate Daniels/Julie* relationship between Paige and Savannah and had a lot of excellent witchy moments (by witchy I mean supernatural spell casting and other creepy shit). It also had a decently organic romance, which I always appreciate. I finished this book feeling genuinely excited to see where the story went next. I even picked up Industrial Magic within a couple weeks (a turnaround that’s pretty unheard of with me). *Side note: I realize this was probably written before the KD series, but as I’m a super fan of that one now, everything must be compared. ;P

Industrial Magic was less about Paige’s relationships and more about the politics and dynamics within the witch and sorcerer communities (with a dash of necromancer and vampire). It expanded the plot sufficiently for me even though the story went in a different direction than I was expecting. It was much more inclusive of other supernatural groups, which made the whole world feel more robust and well-developed. The further I read, the more I appreciate how Armstrong is writing this series.

Overall, comparing books 3&4 to 1&2 is like apples to oranges. They’re still fruit sitting together in the same basket, but the sampling experience is vastly different. Elena’s story was more carnal and sensory, whereas I would call Paige’s more thoughtful and conceptual. Armstrong did a great job adapting her storytelling to both of these unique POVs, but I can see how such a drastic change caused a lot of readers to complain of a quality decline. They say the apples aren’t as good; I say that’s because you bit into an orange when you were expecting an apple.

Recommendations: I personally think there’s more than one type of urban fantasy, and books 3&4 strike a very different note than books 1&2 (as discussed above). As someone who likes most types, I’d recommend both as long as you’re prepared for the change. These haven’t landed at the top of my uf list yet, but they’re making a very compelling (and entertaining) case. :)

Other books you might like:

8 comments on “Book Reviews: Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

  1. I loved Dime Store Magic so much! I weirdly started with the eighth book, Personal Demon, so when I circled back around to start the series, I unintentionally didn’t have to deal with the bitterness of leaving those characters behind … which worked out in my favor, I guess? Hah. I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed these overall – makes me want to do a reread. Lovely reviews! I’m going to have to check out your other urban fantasy recs!


    • Thanks Kaila! Haha that’s a brilliant round about way to start the series – it sounds like an awesome way to avoid the bitterness! Wish I had thought of it haha. Based on how much I liked these, I wish I had continued on earlier. But now at least I have more to look forward to. :D

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I delayed reading Dime Store Magic for the exact same reasons as you! I had about a 5yr gap but last year I finally picked up Dime Store Magic, and I’ve been steadily making my way through the series ever since. It turned out I actually enjoyed reading about the witches more than the werewolves, and the necromancers even more than that! Looking forward to seeing what you think of the rest of the series, and I like your fruit basket analogy. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – thank you! I’m ridiculously proud of that analogy lol. I think I waited about the same timeframe before continuing and in some ways I think that was a good thing because I’ve read enough other series in the genre to appreciate this one more. That’s awesome that it continued well for you, I’m excited to get to the necromancer stuff. Hopefully it won’t be long now (fingers crossed). ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just so you can rest assured, the series does eventually go back to Elena and Clay for I think 2 more books? I can’t remember exactly. But they are good. One is set up north and one in Toronto (Armstrong’s home town).

    Liked by 1 person

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