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Book CoverLiviania’s review of SpellCrash (WebMage, Book 5) by Kelly McCullough
Mythology/cyberpunk/fantasy released by Ace 25 May 2010

I somehow managed to not realize there existed a series that crossed mythology with cyberpunk. I managed to do this despite knowing that either my father or I bought or seriously considered buying WebMage, the first book in Kelly McCullough’s WebMage series.  Either way, I was excited to see that two of my favorite genres mated and produced offspring.

McCullough does a good job of summarizing the events of previous books.  While I was still catching up on the world’s rules, I felt like I had a grasp on the pertinent parts of the series arc before the first chapter ended.  The only problem I had starting with the fifth book was the relationships.  SpellCrash didn’t involve the main character, Ravirn, meeting new people.  Therefore, I had to take how he interacted with others at face value.  The relationships felt complex, but I don’t know if there were major changes to someone’s personality.  I did appreciate the variety of relationships.  (Being familiar with Greek mythology, since most of the characters are Greek gods, did help.)

According to Ravirn, his own has taken a turn for the worse since he became a Trickster aspect.  Now he’s obligated to make a smartass remark even when he prefers to shut up.  His ex-girlfriend Cerice has just become a Fury, which puts extra strain on any of their meetings.  (Just imagine, meeting up with your ex, and you have to say every smart thing that comes to your mind and she can’t control her temper. Ravirn is definitely the grandson of the bucolic muse, aka Slapstick.)

I think my favorite aspect of the novel, aside from having a plot that moved quickly, was the relationship between Ravirn and Persephone, described by the former as “courtly love.” In an earlier book, he rescued Persephone from her obligations to Hades.  She’s pretty grateful for that, as well as for the fact that he didn’t ask for a favor in return.  Ravirn just respects Persephone and did it because it was the right thing to do.  It’s interesting to read about an intense relationship between a man and a woman that doesn’t involve sex.

I enjoyed SpellCrash, but I am going to read it again after I read the previous four books.  I thought it was fun, but I did feel like I was taking quite a bit of the novel for granted, including Ravirn’s abilities.  Everything made enough sense that I could easily follow a long, but I still want to see the world-building develop from the beginning.  Even when I enjoy the experience, I’m not one to jump into a series in the middle.

For those wondering if they could read SpellCrash first, I would say yes, even though it’s clearly not my preference. It appears that the first three novels were an arc, and the fourth, MythOS, served as both a breather.  SpellCrash appears to tie up the loose ends. McCullough does a good job of introducing those ends, but I just feel I’m missing the full impact of the story.

Livianias iconGrade: B+

Ravirn is the best hacker around. But when the system controlling the multiverse needs a massive reboot, Ravirn must utilize all of his skills as a mage and prevent complete chaos-even if it costs him his life.
Read an excerpt here.

Other books in this series:
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