February 2023 Review: Magic and the Shinigami Detective by Honor Raconteur

Cover of Magic and the Shimigami Detective by Honor Raconteur (Book 1 of The Case Files of Henri Davenforth)

“Magic and the Shinigami Detective” is the first book in an ongoing series of detective cases in a world were magic and steampunk mix, The Case Files of Henri Davenforth.

Henri is a Magical Examiner, a very smart mage, but alas, not a very powerful one. He is also a bit of a hermit, a clever sleuth and very proud of the fact that he scored top of the academy in his exams. Not even the Court Mage beat him.

In his first case, he teams up with a somewhat mysterious woman who is mostly famous for killing the worst rogue witch the world has seen. She is both feared and hated by his colleagues, especially as she is very good at what she does.

Jamie Edwards, on the other hand, knows very well who she is and what she can do, but she is new to this world (as we find out in a prologue and in her chapters). She adores Henri because he can actually accept that she knows what she is doing.

Together, they have to stop a band of thieves who get through every magical ward with brute force. Soon, Henri and Jamie find themselves in a race against time to uncover the mastermind and stop that gang from reaching their ultimate target – which may or may not be the Royal Palace.

What I like about “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”

This is very much a Sherlock Holmes and Watson series, with two partners solving crime in a steampunk world – except they are more balanced than Holmes and Watson. Henri is very much the thinker and magic expert, Jamie is much more the active one who beats up people. I do like that the woman is the one who goes on the offensive if needed.

I love the way Jamie leaves comments on Henri’s reports, mostly ones that absolutely baffle him because they are references to her world (ours). She does play with a lot of current (or not so current, this book came out in 2018) entertainment tropes that of course, fly way over Henri’s head. This is rather quirky stuff done in different fonts, and I really love how that breaks up the usual somewhat boring e-Reader books.

The entire tone of the book leans towards cozy, even though bad things happen and some people are blatantly nasty. It’s a feel-good story in the best sense.

What I didn’t like about “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”

Yes, it is cozy fantasy/mystery, and yes, that means that the world can get hilarious and silly. And yet I wish some of the side characters had a bit more nuance to them. Many of them are fairly cardboard, especially the misogynistic ones in the police system.

I also miss a bit of the fun that Honor Raconteur’s more steamy books (which she writes under different pen names) have. These are more regular fantasy stories, not boring, but also with less… irreverent fun. I was looking for that and didn’t quite find it. Which is totally on me.

Where can you get “Magic and the Shinigami Detective”?

This book – and the entire series – are in Kindle Unlimited. That means you can read them for free if you have a subscription (yes, the author does get paid for that, no worries), or you can buy them on Amazon, and only on Amazon.

Here’s the link to the COM store, you may have to change the country extension to get to yours: Magic and the Shinigami Detective by Honor Raconteur

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About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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