I have this on again off again relationship with reading. It’s not that I don’t like it, I love it in fact. It’s just so hard to sift through good series and books for me, and only using Audible for books can get expensive. Luckily, I found out the Kindle Reader PC app was accessible, so here’s to hoping I read more, but still when I find an author I like I’m super loyal and read all of their books.
That author lately is Rachel Aaron for me. I read her Heartstrikers series and fell in love with it: the world, characters, and writing are all so great. I’m not normally into urban fantasy, but this one just clicks with my tastes so much that I read the entire thing and am a big fan of the universe it takes place in. So when I heard that a new series of books was going to take place in the world of the DFZ, I was all in.
Recently, I decided to cancel my Audible subscription just for lack of using it, so with my two remaining credits, I picked up the first 2 books in the DFZ series. How do they compare to the Heartstrikers series?
That’s kind of hard to say. They’re two completely different styles of books, and I think that was a smart move on Aaron’s part. I like both, for different reasons, but as far as my personal preference, I like Minimum Wage Magic more. As much as I like the Heartstrikers series, it eventually evolved into this end of the world scenario. I like it when stories are more personal, and Minimum Wage Magic is just that. We follow Opal, a Cleaner in the DFZ – aka, someone who buys storage units, and takes what she gets out of the units and sells them. We find out early on that she has a big debt to pay to someone by the end of the week, and the plot only thickens when the unit she buys has a dead body inside of it. Said unit has notes that lead her on a crazy adventure with fellow cleaner Nick, and I don’t want to say anything else because the fun of this book is not knowing what will happen next.
It has a very heist setup to it – beat another party to the prize at the end of the adventure. There’s plenty of action, lot of flare, and most importantly, the characters we follow are really fun and interesting. Unlike Heartstrikers, we aren’t following someone who doesn’t want to fight. That also lends itself to making this series stand on its own, and not making it feel like a rehashed story – and, there are plenty of cameos from characters from the first series of books. If you haven’t read the Heartstrikers series, it won’t throw you off at all, but for those of us who have it’s a really nice nod to the series and there are really fun references in here.
But as I was saying, the characters are really interesting. Both Opal and Nick are super dynamic, both together and apart and I’m seriously hoping they’ll get together at the end of all of this because they just complement each other so well. The book is told in first person, from Opal’s POV and it just…works. Like it doesn’t feel like we’re getting too much into her headspace because she’s a closed off character, but we learn just enough about her and her personality to like her, and she tells us enough about the world around her to know how the world works. Her interactions with other characters don’t feel like first person, and the dialogue has Aaron’s typical mix of humor and grounded logic that I’ve come to really enjoy.
And that’s the biggest thing I have to say about this book: It’s a lot more grounded than the Heartstrikers series. Instead of world threatening odds, we’re dealing with one woman and her life. It’s far more personal, and throughout the story that totally gets across. It’s a super fun heist story with a grounded sense of self, while still having magic and technology that totally makes sense in the continuity of the world. All the characters feel real, and I’m rooting for Nick and Opal to make it in the crazy world of the DFZ together throughout the rest of this series.
I’m super interested after this first entry in the series, to see how Opal and Nick’s stories will end. Aaron once again, knocked it out of the park with this one.
If you’ve read the Heartstrikers series, or if you haven’t, Minimum Wage Magic is worth the read. I’m going to be starting the 2nd book in the series asap, and can’t wait to see what happens next in Opal’s story.
Have you read Minimum Wage Magic? Let me know how you liked it in the comments!