Secondhand Sorcery

Secondhand Sorcery

by Theredsheep

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

Godlike power at a reasonable price.

Istanbul, 2012.  Decades of paranormal research have led to a new golden age in black ops, and Titus Marshall's adopted family of orphan conjurers is an attractive option for a government looking for mayhem on the cheap.  A small troupe of children, wielding stolen powers, can eradicate an entire army of conventional soldiers--then return to the shadow of their fearsome father. But all children have to grow up sometime.  The fledgling sorcerers are ready to leave the nest, and plenty of people are waiting to help them out of it.  The only question is how they will find their freedom, and how much of the world will survive the process.

Secondhand Sorcery is a military fantasy (with sci-fi aspects), told from multiple perspectives, about trauma, greed, identity, and what actually happens when you give terrifying magical powers to teenagers.

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One of the best Urban Supernatural books I've read

Reviewed at: XIX. To Live By The Sword (Nadia)

Secondhand Necromancy is a thrilling and beautifully written novel that explores the complexities of grief, identity, power and religion.

The story follows the journey of a young woman named Nadia, who has been suborned into a cult lead by a self-proclaimed ruler alongside her brother. She struggles to come to terms with the life she has been forced into, and we see how her goals develop naturally from this. Upon gaining a new familiar, Nadia is drawn into a dangerous world of magic and politics, where she must confront her own family first and the rest of the world soon later.

What sets Secondhand Necromancy apart is its vivid and immersive world-building, which blends elements of contemporary urban life with the supernatural. The setting is richly detailed and vividly realized, and the pacing is fast and the action intense, making for a page-turning read.

But it is the characters that really shine in this novel. Nadia is a complex and deeply 'real' protagonist, and the supporting cast is equally well-developed. The relationships between the characters are complex and nuanced, adding depth and emotional resonance to the story.

Overall, Secondhand Necromancy is a must-read for fans of urban fantasy and anyone looking for a beautifully written, emotionally powerful novel.


Secondhand Sorcery: Enjoyable and worth the read

Reviewed at: XXVI. Freelance (Nadia)

Secondhand Sorcery is an engaging and well-written urban fantasy story set in a world that answers the question, ‘What would have happened if something came of governments’ attempts to look into the supernatural as a viable means for military use?’

With a tagline like: ‘Godlike power at a reasonable price’. It’s hard not be interested. The story focuses on a troupe of children soldiers, who are a direct result of the aforementioned militarization of the supernatural, and led by one, Titus Marshall. Mr. Marshall is a man I like to playfully describe as a cosplayer with too much power (I’m sure you’ll understand when you meet him.), but don’t take that description and see him as joke of a character. As you see, Mr. Marshall is a man that has found a way to turn the misfortune of others into his profit, through the reclaiming of lost assets and making them his own. Those assets being that of Familiars.

As a fan of Jojo’s Bizarre of Adventure and Persona the idea of summoned spirits with special abilities is always appealing to me, but don’t take that description as all there is. There is more to Familiars and they are fucking terrifying.

So far the story follows the perspective of two characters, Nadia and Keisha. I think it’s safe to say that Nadia is the dominant protagonist though.

Nadia is one of the many children owned by Titus Marshall and she’s also a young girl that has lost a lot because of him. Which is an interesting situation for a child to be in. Nadia, to me, is someone with a lot of anger, but it doesn’t show because of how defeated she feels. Having no one to properly rely on, (even though her actual brother is also present, but he’s… Let’s just say that Yuri is a bit different in the way he thinks.) Nadia is someone that relies heavily on faith, out of equal parts fear, hopelessness and loneliness. At the start of the story Nadia is sent out to become yet another proper asset for her adoptive father. Something she desperately needs for her own survival under the man’s thumb and her own future as her usefulness wanes with her age and Mr. Marshall is not a hoarder of useless things, and Nadia has failed before. With her success Nadia gains power, and for a young girl with trauma and so much complicated and festering emotions beneath her surface it is a wonderful recipe for disaster. But the question is, for who?

Our second perspective character Keisha, is a young woman who works for the US government. She owns a piccolo and it, like familiars, is fucking terrifying. Keisha is placed in a position that involves her interacting with Titus Marshall on behalf of the US, posing as an assistant to one, Colonel Hampton. Keisha is someone with a lot of pity towards the children of the Marshall family, especially Nadia. As such, she presents a possible salvation for the young girl, if she’s perhaps willing to accept. She also serves as a brilliant source of information on the world we are exploring as readers.

Not much to say on grammar, writing style and all that. All I can say is that it’s great. Perhaps someone else could be more detailed, but that’s all from me. Pacing is great and Theredsheep keeps their chapters at reasonable length which, for someone like me who has found difficult in actually sitting down and reading these days, is nice.

Worldbuilding is phenomenal as Thesredsheep only gives us what we need to know and information is given almost entirely organically. If there is no reason for you to know it, you won’t. It’s almost like a need to know basis. Personally as a reader I always enjoy stories that make me feel like I know a lot, but when I really think about it I actually don’t know shit. There’s still so much to learn and find out, which is fun.

To conclude, Secondhand Sorcery is a thrilling story of a young girl with unreasonable power in a familiar but different world trying to process the complexity of her own feelings and experiences, while trying to survive and hopefully remain a decent person. Though from her perspective that seems about just as fantastical a thought as a happy end for herself. But, this is a world where the veil between humanity and the once thought unattainable has been breached, so maybe it’s not that far out of reach. So give it a read, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I haven’t been.