License to Ensorcell—Good But Not Spellbinding

License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr book cover
License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr

License to Ensorcell, by Katharine Kerr, is an urban fantasy told from first person point of view. Set in modern day San Francisco, the story follows psychic agent Nola O’Grady as she seeks out a serial killer of werewolves.

1—Nola

Nola O’Grady works for an organization so secret even she won’t even tell the reader its name. She’s an agent of Harmony tasked with finding and stopping Chaos breaches. Serial killers aren’t usually in her bailiwick but this one is using silver bullets to kill his targets. And of course, it turns out that this same killer is the one who murdered her own brother a year ago.

Nola is fairly blasé about personal danger. She’s more afraid of her mother finding out she’s back home than she is about the gunman with her in his sights, something her new partner Ari Nathan finds incredibly annoying.

2—Nola’s Love Interest

Ari Nathan, Interpol Agent, isn’t exactly normal but he isn’t part of Nola’s wacky world either. So it’s a bit of a shock when Nola goes into trances, converses with invisible creatures, etc. He mostly takes things in stride, albeit not happily. But Nathan doesn’t let anything throw him off his game, even the reveal that there are worlds other than our own.

3—Nola’s Family

Where do I start? With Nola’s Aunt Eileen, who has prophetic dreams about her family and wears outfits from the fifties? Or with her sister, who can communicate with animals? There’s also her dead brother, Pat, who was a werewolf, and little brother Michael who’s just coming into his powers as the seventh child of a seventh child. Then there’s Nola’s mother, who’s a metaphorical dragon who won’t admit her own talents exist.

Conclusion

I had fun with the book but I’m not a fan of parallel worlds, for much the same reasons I’m not a fan of time travel, and it looks like the next book is being set up in that direction. So I may just take my happy ending and leave it with this book. We’ll see. After all, I’ve got a lot of other books to get through.

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