Review: Premonitions by Jamie Schultz (Arcane Underworld #1)


Premonitions by Jamie Schultz // VBC ReviewPremonitions (Arcane Underworld #1)
Jamie Schultz
Published: July 1, 2014 (Roc)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amanda

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Two million dollars. That’s a lot of money to someone like Karyn Chance. It’s a lot of money for everyone else in her crew, too, which is the reason that, despite their misgivings, they take on a job from Enoch Sobell, notorious crime lord and suspected black magic practitioner. Two million dollars can soothe a lot of nerves and clear away a lot of misgivings.

On paper, the job seems simple enough: Steal a relic from a batty cult leader and hand it over to Sobell. The actual process proves it’s definitely not easy. Loyalties are tested, people die, and Karyn starts to lose her mind. The drug she relies on to keep her visions at bay is out of her reach unless she gets her hands on more money. When the job goes sideways, her shot at the money disappears, but it’s only the beginning for Karyn and her friends. What’s coming for them, for Sobell, for the city itself is beyond their worst nightmares.

Here’s the thing about Premonitions. I wanted to like it. Who doesn’t like a story about thieves? Add in a supernatural twist I haven’t read much about (the occult), a bad guy who borders on creepy, and a heist gone wrong, I figured it was the perfect formula for excitement.

It certainly packs a punch. I like a good, dark story sometimes, and Premonitions was downright grim. Karyn and her crew figure out pretty quick they’re screwed and scramble to make the best of it. Things quickly stack against them, and they fight their way through every obstacle. The crew’s sheer determination, first to complete the job, then to clean up the mess left behind, kept me turning pages.

The problem is the characters. I couldn’t connect with any of them. There’s plenty of reasons to sympathize with them. Nail, one of the crew, needs the money almost as desperately as Karyn does. Anna, Karyn’s right hand, knows how much Karyn needs the money and would do anything to help her friend.

But the narrative shifts around, between Karyn, Anna, Nail, and Sobell, for the most part, and there wasn’t enough time spent with any one of them for me to really get into their heads. Even as Karyn’s sanity deteriorated, I had a hard time caring about what happened to her. Her friends spend so much time trying to stay one step ahead of the evil Sobell’s unleashed that there’s not much room to get to know their quirks and flaws.

The ending is frustrating yet fits with the overall tone of the story—grim and dark. I don’t think this is the end of Karyn’s story. I think it’s only just beginning.

Sexual content: none

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