Thursday, January 26, 2017

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines

Revisionary is the fourth book in the Magic Ex Libris series and I hope it is not the last. The premise of the series started as magic being perceived or created as words and objects can be pulled out of books and used in the real world. We reach the point where magic is more of a primal force that is often more conveniently manipulated using one or a combination of books.

The former founder and leader of the Porters, Johannes Gutenberg, is gone and Vainio is on his own, with little to no support from the Porters, and the U.S. Government barely tolerates the new magic research facility he's helped start. When politicians are assassinated by werewolves a chain of events lead to the discovery of a conspiracy to harness magical creatures to take over the world.

“I didn’t expect him to die,” Deb said sullenly. “I don’t give a rat’s shit about you. I’m not here for the Porters or for Vanguard. But I’m not gonna let the military sail in and do to the sirens what they did to the vamps in Detroit. Whatever conspiracy we’re dealing with, it’s targeting people like me. I need your help to bring them down. As long as we’re going after the same assholes, I’ve got your back.”
The plot revolves around similar themes found in the X-Men and Avengers films, with the government trying to control or exterminate magic users and creatures. The overarching theme is fear of "the other" and the way those in power manipulate those fears for their own personal ambitions.

The series as a whole uses a magic system that constantly refers to sci-fi and fantasy books I've read or plan on reading. Our protagonist, Vainio, is always wishing he could just curl up with a good book instead of running around being an action hero. It is really a treat to have Vainio pull a weapon or ingenious trick from a favorite book. The fast-paced adventure keeps the message from overpowering the story.

Our heroes defeat the conspiracy (of course) and there seems to be an uneasy peace in the world, but there are still loose threads and the possibility of a rogue's gallery of new villains to deal with so there's plenty of room for more books in the series.

Finished January 6, 2017