Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins is an urban fantasy told in the first person perspective of Tate, a human welder-artist.
After moving to New York’s magical district, Golgotham, Tate is immersed in the magical subculture. In Golgotham, there are no cars—centaurs pull carriages and satyrs pull rickshaws. Leprechauns have their own bars. And six-fingered, neon-haired Kymeran sorcerers work their magic, for a price.
Tate’s landlord, Hexe, is one such Kymeran sorcerer, a healer who only practices right hand magic, hence the name of the book. Right hand magic is protective/defensive, as well as being literally performed with the right hand. Left hand magic is malicious/offensive and performed with the left hand. I can’t help but wonder what someone who’s actually left-handed would feel about the book’s chosen terminology.
The plot is nominally about Hexe harboring Lukas, an escapee from the fighting pits of the Malandati, the Kymeran organized crime syndicate. Right Hand Magic focuses more on Tate’s exploration of Golgotham than it does on the plot. The book is carried by a sense of wonder rather than a sense of danger, right through the first half of the climax. When Tate leads her enchanted metal sculptures to save her friend, there’s still more the sense of the beauty of the sculptures come to life than there is worry for Lukas. At least for me.
The other focus, the subplot, was the budding romance between Tate and Hexe. There was nothing wrong with the way it was handled, but it was just kind of meh for me.
It was a decent read and I had fun wandering around Golgotham with Tate with Hexe as her guide. But I won’t be picking up the second book or rereading this one.