Cupcakes and Magic? Yes please

Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic

So I recently had a birthday and for that birthday I got a Kindle gift card. Among the many, many books I picked up was the Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge. These books feature Jade Godfrey, half-witch and full time baker. She owns a cupcake shop in Vancouver called Cake in a Cup. Godfrey herself admits that this is an unimaginative but accurate name. Jade Godfrey, we learn, has a type of magic that basically means she’s a human dowsing rod. She can taste magic, tell what from sight if an item has any sort of magical signature in it and put these random items together into something a bit more coherent. This last bit, which she doesn’t start out really knowing about, makes her even more rare in her magical world. She’s an Alchemist. That is, she can make magical items, basically through force of will.

Jade is raised by her grandmother since her mom was sixteen when Jade was born. Her mom is apparently still something of a wild child, even twenty some odd years later. Jade was also raised alongside foster sister Sienna, who has the capability of binding things to her. Jade is pretty content just to run her cupcake shop and hunt down her little semi-magical trinkets. She doesn’t think too much about what she could be doing with her magic. She’s happy.

And then a vampire comes to her shop. He can’t get in because the wards of her shop, set by her grandmother, keep him out unless invited. But just having a vampire, who is apparently far too interested in her little trinkets in the window, is highly unusual and quite creepy. Turns out, in Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic (the first book of the series), the vampire is hunting down a killer who has killed several werewolves. At first it was thought to be another vampire but once that was ruled out, the next suspect was Jade because at least one of her trinkets was found at the site of a murder.

Over all I enjoyed these books. They’re fun and I wanted to eat all of the cupcakes the author mentioned. And I’m not even a chocolate fan. However, this point kinda stuck in my craw a bit. These trinkets that Jade make are either hanging in her shop windows or they’re in her apartment. Jade herself doesn’t do much with them once she feels that they are complete. The only other person who has access to these trinkets is her foster sister Sienna. 

So right away Jade knows that these trinkets are at the scenes of the murders and that only a couple of people have access to them. She knows that she didn’t kill any werewolves so that leaves…duh duh DUUUUHN! Sienna. And yet it takes Jade a whole, relatively short book to realize that her sister is the killer. Now to be fair, Jade is not a PI or a cop as a lot of urban fantasy protagonists tend to be. She’s a baker. But Vancouver’s “Adept” community is so, so small that there are only so many people it could be.

Nothing bothers me more than a lead character who is willfully obtuse. I could figure out what was going on half way through the book (or earlier), so the character really should have as well. I would have liked to see Jade figure this out quickly and spend the second half of the book 1) struggling to coming to terms with the fact that her sister is a killer (because face it, that would be hard) and 2) a more thrilling hunt of said sister. What we get is a rather crunched hunt for Sienna with an ‘oh by the way, Jade is much more than we ever thought of’ tossed in almost haphazardly at the end. The final two books deal more with the first point.

Still, I enjoyed it well enough to pick up the other two books in the series, Trinkets, Treasures and Other Bloody Magic and Treasures, Demons and Other Black Magic. In the follow up books, Jade gets a bit better about not being totally oblivious to just about everything, but only just. Luckily she is a likable enough character and you really want to know just how she’s going to deal with her sister (who doesn’t get her comeuppance at the end of the first book) that you can overlook the moments of stupidity. Then again, no one really likes the ‘perfect’ character do they? It wouldn’t make for a fun or interesting story if your main character knew all protocol or knew the extent of their magic etc. Jade grows with each book and that’s the important part. So far there are three books. The author, Meghan Ciana Doidge, could stop there with the series or she could go on. There’s a hint that there could be at least a fourth book but I don’t know if anything is coming down the pike. I’d probably read it if there was.

At any rate, if you’re looking for something that is a bit on the lighter side and a quick read, you couldn’t go wrong with the Dowser series. Rating: B

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