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Review: Unsympathetic Magic (Esther Diamond Series Book #3) by Laura Resnick

Review: Unsympathetic Magic (Esther Diamond Series Book #3) by Laura Resnick

by The CaptainJanuary 7, 2012

TLDR recap:

Esther is back!  And she’s dressed as a bisexual drug addict crack whore!  Holy Moses, what has she been doing?  Oh, just getting hot and heavy with Det. Lopez (when he isn’t convinced she’s nuts), acting on a major TV show (hence the outfit), and running into monsters on the streets of Harlem.  That’s what you get for being a good samaritan in New York.  Unsympathetic Magic is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

  • Title: Unsympathetic Magic
  • Series: Esther Diamond book #3
  • Author: Laura Resnick
  • Prominent Characters: Esther Diamond, Det. Lopez, Max Zadok, Nellie
  • Recommended reader age: 16+
  • Sexual content level: Low


*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***


Unsympathetic Magic is a tightly woven, madcap dash of a story that manages to weave religious practices, seedy television, hilarious situational humor, snappy dialogue, mythical stinky creatures, and an utterly believable cast of characters into a tapestry that you’ll have a hard time taking your eyes off.  Esther is one of my favorite heroines – maybe partly because she’s human, with no super powers to fall back on – but also because she’s a good person.  A great person, really.  Slightly self-absorbed in her pursuit of a successful acting career, but utterly likable and funny.  She’s witty, sarcastic (without being a meanie), and has this dry sort of dead pan humor that frequently makes me giggle to myself and re-read her dialogue or inner monologue.

I totally dig Esther.

Plus, Esther and her sort of but not really ex (since their relationship keeps going in fits and starts that leave everyone frustrated in more ways than one) Detective Lopez have the type of sizzle and tension that will drive you nuts wondering when the Smex Beam is finally going to take them down.  (Without a near death experience. It’s funny, but not.  Cause I wanna see Connor nekkie.  Even if it is only as a figment of my imagination.)

Connor is the perfect straight man to Esther’s role as sidekick to Max Zadok, 350 year old sorcerer and protector of New York from Evil.  (Yep, capital E.  Cause it’s serious business fighting baddies and nasties and things that go *snarl, gurgle, roar!* in the night.)  As a police detective, he’s trained to look for the most obvious, not supernatural, reason for things to happen.  Esther tries to gently show him that things are not that easily defined.  He subsequently thinks she’s nuts, but can’t stay away from her.

They’re a great couple, and I’m hoping that in subsequent books things work out for them.  Cause when it heats up between them, things catch fire.  (Read zee book, mmmkay?  That’s all I’m giving you!)

I found the plot to once again lead me down several paths with red herrings and distractions that never let me get a real bead on who the baddie was.  I love that in an Urban Fantasy.  There was a bit too much talk about the particular ins and outs of Vodou for me in the early middle part of the book.  It just slowed things down a little.  Although I feel like I now know enough about it to be totally freaked out.  *Sigh.   I am such a wimp.

Memorable quotes:

SO, uh, what’s the problem again?  Can’t be that bad…

Then again, I was a secular Jew interested in a practicing Catholic who thought I might be a dangerous lunatic.  So I should probably eschew snarkiness about other people’s love lives.


Freakin’ robots!  They’re Evil I tell you!  EEEEEVVVVIIIILLLL!

“Let’s say someone dug up his body and installed robot parts inside him.”

“But how did he answer my questions when I spoke to him?”

“Computer programming.”

“And how did he manage to struggle against the baka?”

“Remote control.”


Lopez, you can compare me to whatever you want, baby.  Anything at all.  Really.

“It’s like wanting peanut butter so much that you eat it in your dreams.  But when you’re awake, you know you’ll go into anaphylactic shock if you touch the stuff.”  He gave himself a little shake and stood up.  “Do you see what I’m saying?”

“Something about food allergies, mental illness, and a fear that I’ll attack livestock?”



If you liked Unsympathetic Magic of the Esther Diamond series…

Make sure that you pick up book one, Disappearing Nightly (going on sale as a reissue in June) so you can see where it all started.  The Amazon reviews are great for it.  I can’t wait to get my own copy. 🙂

I also recommend the Riley Jensen series for humor and sexual tension, mysteries and danger.

If you like the idea of a woman who tries to go up against the supernatural on a regular basis and finds herself in trouble because of do gooder tendencies and sexual tension with an irresistible alpha male who is frequently exasperated but just can’t stay away, check out the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning.  (Now, I was not fond of Mac (the FMC) for most of the first book, but she’s grown to be one of my favorites.) *Editor’s Note: “Rainbow Mac” v. 1.0 is a self-absorbed, preppy brat, but by the time she becomes Black Mac v. 5.0, she’s kick ass and awesome.   Hang in there through all her talk of her cute little blonde self and painted toenails.

Final thoughts:

This is another impressive feat of humor, mystery, fantasy, magic, and adventure for Laura Resnick.  Despite a little bit of a slow spot there (for me, anyway), Unsympathetic Magic will keep your butt glued to your favorite reading chair from start to finish.  You’ll love it almost as much as Esther loves the fried chicken she gets for lunch after a long day and a half or so of misadventure on the dark streets of New York.

Unsympathetic Magic is a GraveTells Recommended Read!

Rating: Unsympathetic Magic


Related links:

Laura Resnick’s website here.

You can also find her on Facebook.

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About The Author
The Captain
When not in pursuit of two small children, a sausage shaped black lab, workaholic husband, crazed hermit crab, bachelor's degree, Jensen Ackles, or editors, I spend time writing and reading PNR/UF as fast as my overtaxed eyes and fingers can read and type. I'm busily writing a series with plenty of Smex Beam deployment and the occasional short story. I am susceptible to bribes involving chocolate, peanut butter, and interesting combinations of the two.
  • Sophia Rose
    January 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Okay, those quotes were just hilarious! I like stories where there is a great deal of dry wit to counter-attack the disasters that h/h must deal with.

    I had never heard of the author or the series so I’ll be keeping watch for the first book. Sounds great!

    Thanks for the review!

    • January 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      You’ll love these books Sophia! I wish that the first was available NOW cause I wants it sooooo bad!

      I think that Laura is going to be popping in tomorrow, so if you want to chat her up, stop back. She’s a really classy lady. 🙂

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