Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron / Bach
Series: DFZ #1
Published by Self-Published on NOvember 9, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
The DFZ, the metropolis formerly known as Detroit, is the world’s most magical city with a population of nine million and zero public safety laws. That’s a lot of mages, cybernetically enhanced chrome heads, and mythical beasties who die, get into debt, and otherwise fail to pay their rent. When they can’t pay their bills, their stuff gets sold to the highest bidder to cover the tab.
That’s when they call me. My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner: a freelance mage with an art history degree who’s employed by the DFZ to sort through the mountains of magical junk people leave behind. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one—there’s a reason I wear bite-proof gloves—but when you’re deep in debt in a lawless city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, you don’t get to be picky about where your money comes from. You just have to make it work, even when the only thing of value in your latest repossessed apartment is the dead body of the mage who used to live there.
This book answers the question what if Storage Wars was mashed up with a world where ‘gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own’. Minimum Wage Magic is a spin off series set in the DFZ (Detroit Free Zone) of the Heartstriker Series. You do not have to have read the prior series to enjoy this; it is completely new and set after all the events of the HeartStriker Series.
Minimum Wage Magic explores the DFZ in an entirely new way through the eyes of Opal, a cleaner. She basically bids on units based on pictures hoping to clean out the stuff left behind in hopes of making some money so the housing can be turned around and rented again. Opal might be a mage but she has struggled with conventional magic. Her style is a bit more slapstick, but hey it gets her by. Or at least it did until she bid on a unit that might have a bit more of a mystery tied to it when she also finds a dead body.
I really enjoyed this book. There are mages, dragons, humans and some augmented humans (that’s cyborg right…I think there are cyborgs). Anyway, Opal NEEDS a lot of cash, fast, and she has stumbled onto something that might pay out huge if she can solve the mystery and find the magical treasure. Good thing she has found someone who knows the underbelly of the DFZ and is willing to help her, for a price that is.
Nik is another cleaner who usually acts as Opal’s competition but he might just come in handy and with the deadline she is on, she’ll need more help than her virtual reality assistant. As they work together, both learn an appreciation for each other and although there is no smooching in this book, that doesn’t mean in the long term that won’t happen.
There are a few mentions of The Peacemaker, The Spirit of the DFZ and the Nameless Wind for those of you who have read the Heartstriker series but this is definitely a new bag of tricks and those were just bonuses for the readers of the other series.
I really enjoyed the new character Opal and Nik and how each brought something to this new forged partnership. I also enjoyed the premise of the story and what Opal is trying to escape from. This was an entertaining story of trying to find the missing treasure with the clock ticking. I’m looking forward to seeing what Opal and Nik come up against next as there are more books to come in this world.
“Oh, honey,” Rena said, giving me a wink. “He’s got features. Not surprised you haven’t seen them, though. Nikki likes to keep his cards hidden, but I’d bet he’d show you if you asked nicely.”
“I think you’re letting your optimism run away with you again. Even if you’re right, and there is a pot of gold at the end of this wild goose chase, the DFZ is a hundred and ninety-four square miles that move around. The chance of you finding one mage’s circle in all of that is practically zero,
The Master Key was a sacred object and a Cleaner’s only real identification. It had been made for me by the Spirit of the City, and it could open any door in the DFZ if the city believed you had a right to be there.
That last bit was the tricky part. Unlike every other city in the world, the Detroit Free Zone was alive. Literally alive, with her own soul, mind, opinions, and, occasionally, off-the-books real estate deals.
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