Big Idea piece a while back, and the concept intrigued me. Also, the windbreaker. And it really didn't disappoint. This story is quick, fun, and different.
There were a few things which threw me off initially and almost made me put the book down without reading it. First of all, on the cover it says "A Twenty Palaces Novel" which made me think that it wasn't necessarily the first book in the series. Then, when you start reading, the main character makes many references to previous events - which is totally normal when you need to fill people in on the back story - but in such a way that it made me feel like there was definitely a previous book, and that I would probably be happier if I read that one first. It turns out this was the first novel published, but there is in fact a prequel...which I haven't read, but other people on the internet seem to think is worth reading. If my library had a copy, I would definitely get my hands on it, unfortunately this is the only book of Harry Connolly's they happen to have...and I enjoyed it enough that I'm seriously considering buying the whole series.
Ray Lilly has just gotten out of jail. He's been a car thief, he's killed his best friend, and now he's working for someone who hates him but who has for some reason agreed not to kill him (for the time being at least) and who has been instrumental in getting him out of jail, and he's flat broke. It turns out that he's actually a really good guy when you give him a chance. He really does want to save the world, and that makes him really quite lovable. He's definitely someone you want to have on your side.
The magic in this story is really interesting and fairly different from what I've seen other places. It isn't really well explained in the first book, largely because we're seeing the world through Ray's eyes, and while he would like to understand the magic a whole lot better, he doesn't actually know all that much about it. Yet. I'm really curious to find out what he's going to do next.