Yokai Magic by Margaret L. Carter

Yokai Magic by Margaret L. Carter
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (113 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Dryas

When Val unearths a Japanese scroll and a cat figurine inherited from her grandfather, magic invades her world. The statuette, actually a cat spirit named Yuki—a yokai—enchanted into that form for her own protection, comes to life. Over a century ago, an evil magician cast a curse on her, and a wolf-like demon conjured by the curse still hunts her. Because Val is the one who broke the protective spell, that dark magic endangers her, too. She must turn for help to the last person she wants to get involved with, her former high-school boyfriend, now an officer in the Navy. Together they search for a way to vanquish the threat from the spirit realm, while facing the attraction they thought they’d long since put behind them.

Val was exploring in the basement of her house to find old artifacts that her grandfather had brought back from Korea. She was looking for items she could sell to afford fixing up her parents’ house. What she finds changes her life forever.

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A man named Hiroshi often came to pray to the kami. He was a magic user and a great painter who fell in love with Yuki. He was the one who painted the picture and made her into a statue for her protection. What Val didn’t expect was to start seeing Yokai everywhere.

Val is a wonderfully developed character who rolls with the punches that life has thrown her way. I admired how she took the fact that she has magic infused in her house without screaming in panic and running away. She is a woman full of honor, wanting to keep those around her safe. For example, she keeps the scroll that Yuki is attached to, which is how other Yokai find Val’s house. Yuki had informed Val that she should place the scroll in another place. Val had disagreed as she was getting to know Yuki as a sister of sorts. Val has one major flaw. She tends to not deal with facing the choices that would allow her to move on in her life.

The plot was very enjoyable and rather different. I always enjoyed learning about a different culture. The novel teaches about different yokai and other legends. I would love to learn more but this was well done. There are no places where the plots skip around. The first plot is keeping Yuki safe, and the second one is the developing relationship between Val and Thad. They become closer to each other every day to figure how to get her house back to normal.

There are a few things I think could have been changed. For example, Thad takes the fact that Val has supernatural creatures around her house and speaking cat in stride. Val was the same way, taking the whole matter in stride. To me, most people would take a while to absorb everything. The conflict resolution happened a little too quickly and easily. I would have liked to see more of a fight along with making it harder to find the information they needed to get rid of the evil.

Altogether this is a wonderful read that is hard to put down. The characters and culture catch the reader’s imagination.

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