Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron

DFZ, Book 1

Synopsis: Making a living is hard. In a lawless city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, it can feel downright impossible.

Good thing freelance mage Opal Yong-ae has never let little things like impossibility stop her. She’s found a way to put her overpriced magical art history degree to use as a Cleaner: a contract municipal employee who empties out abandoned apartments and resells the unusual treasures she finds inside for a profit. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one–there’s a reason she wears bite-proof gloves–but when you’re neck-deep in debt to a very magical, very nasty individual, you can’t be picky about where the money comes from.

But even Opal’s low standards are put to the test when the only thing of value in her latest apartment is the body of the previous tenant. Dealing with the dead isn’t technically part of her job, but this mage died hiding a secret that could be worth a lot of money, and Opal’s the only one who knows. With debts she can’t pay due at the end of the week, this could be the big break she’s been waiting for, but in a city of runaway magic where getting in over your head generally means losing it, the cost of chasing this opportunity might be more than Opal can survive.

Review: I loved the novels I read by Rachel Aaron and I was very curious to discover this new series. I haven’t finished the Heartstrikers series yet because I’m trying to make it last and I didn’t realize until I read the first page of the novel that this series was set in the same universe. But don’t worry, because the author specifies that the two series are completely independent.

So we discover Opal, a young woman who earns her living as a cleaner. What does this mean? She buys flats where rents are unpaid and has to empty and clean them for the next rental, while being able to keep everything she can find that is valuable. It’s not a dream job, but when you’re trying to get away from your family that you owe a lot of money to, there’s not much choice. Unfortunately, the new payment is coming in and she has had very little luck lately: the flat she buys also contains the body of the last tenant. While she can’t find anything of value, it seems that the landlord has hidden documents that could be worth a lot of money. Determined to understand and find everything this man was hiding, our heroine, who usually lives a rather quiet life, is going to face unsuspected dangers. Luckily for her, she will have the support of Nick, who will do everything he can to earn his share of the cake.

It was a very nice novel with lots of ideas and I really had a great time with the story and all the characters. The world is very rich and surprising and it was a pleasure to discover this first volume. I can only recommend the author who has great novels! For my part, I can’t wait to get back to Opal for new adventures!

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