When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.
And now hunted by one of their own.
Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.
Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.
Magical Intelligence is a fantasy story where the wonder of magic is mixed with the harsh dark grittiness of a spy novel, creating an exciting mix that increases the depth and complexity of the book in unexpected ways.
Favorite Character: James James
He is a natural-born leader – every ounce a professional spy – and his name made me giggle every time I read it. He is not scared to do what must be done to catch the bad guy, even if it means that it will cost him his life. There are a few humanizing scenes that just showed how complex James James is.
What I Like
My favorite part of the story is the plot concept—mage wielders, who form a Department of Magical Intelligence that work with MI2. I have read plots with magic in a more cozy mystery setting but never the dark world of professional spies. It intrigued me throughout the novel, just thinking about where future stories can go. I love, love, love this very creative concept.
The characters are all so complicated, especially the main character, Myra Wetherby. Discovering she is magical instead of insane and going through the slow process of learning what her powers entail provides her with a newfound strength that her young self has never known before. She is a somewhat broken 14-year-old, but learning about this secret and this secret spy agency is empowering her in very needed ways. I also love that the teenagers in the story show very little angst. They are all mature beyond their years because this world requires them to be this way.
The enemy is delightfully wicked – a perfect spy story enemy like you would find in a James Bond movie. And the magic could be as much a hindrance as it could be a benefit. The spy plot is action-packed and held my attention throughout the novel. The setting also adds to the atmosphere and providing a bit of posh in an otherwise bleak world.
To Read or Not to Read
Magical Intelligence is like a slice of flourless chocolate cake. It has a density that contains such rich complexities that it must be savored in small bites to fully appreciate all of the subtle nuances contained within. If you want a new type of fantasy story, it is worth savoring.
About the Author
M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.