by Rachel Aaron
Series: DFZ #1
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 9 hours and 45 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 cups Speed: 1.3x
The DFZ, the metropolis formerly known as Detroit, is the world’s most magical city with a population of nine million and zero public safety laws. That’s a lot of mages, cybernetically enhanced chrome heads, and mythical beasties who die, get into debt, and otherwise fail to pay their rent. When they can’t pay their bills, their stuff gets sold to the highest bidder to cover the tab.
That’s when they call me. My name is Opal Yong-ae, and I’m a Cleaner: a freelance mage with an art history degree who’s employed by the DFZ to sort through the mountains of magical junk people leave behind. It’s not a pretty job, or a safe one—there’s a reason I wear bite-proof gloves—but when you’re deep in debt in a lawless city where gods are real, dragons are traffic hazards, and buildings move around on their own, you don’t get to be picky about where your money comes from. You just have to make it work, even when the only thing of value in your latest repossessed apartment is the dead body of the mage who used to live there.
Minimum Wage Magic delivered from an intriguing world to unique characters. Mages, dragons, cybernetics and magic gave way to a suspenseful tale filled with characters I want more of. The first in the DFZ series you’ll want to add this to your TBR pile.
This was my first experience with author, Rachel Aaron. She set this series in the same universe as her Heartstrikers series. Thanks to authors like Dannika Dark, Ilona Andrews, and Annette Marie, I find that I like series set within the same megaverse. For the record, I haven’t read the other series in this world.
The story takes place in the metropolis formerly known as Detroit. It’s a magical city with over 900 million people. Opal Yong-ae is a Cleaner. A freelance mage with an art history degree employed by the DFZ. When tenants are evicted for nonpayment, she bids on their units. She cleans up for the next tenant and in return she gets to keep the contents. Her goal is to find valuable magical junk people leave behind. I enjoyed looking for treasure as we got to know the characters.
When we meet Opal, she is in a bit of trouble. A series of bad luck has her panicked. She is days away from having to make a ten thousand dollar loan payment. If she defaults, her life is over and she loses her freedom. A fate she won’t allow to happen.
From the getgo, I was all in. I liked Opal and Sybil, her high-pitched, talkative AI. On a job she makes a discovery, that might be the key to her freedom, but it also brings danger to her doorstep. That is when another cleaner, Nikola Kos, steps in and offers her deal. The story that unfolds was intense and magical with suspense, a touch of romance and unique characters.
I knew I was all in and would listen to more of Aaron’s work. I was also kicking myself for having waited so long to dive in. I found the city, the gods, and the alliances fascinating. We have dragons, a living, breathing magical city, spirits and the Empty Wind; the spirit of The Forgotten Dead. The city is run by a powerful spirit known as the DFZ. She manages the city creates buildings, moves the landscape and more.
The world building is exceptional. Aaron weaves information, rules and more into the story rather than giving us large information dumps. All of which allows for a well-paced, suspenseful and addictive tale.
Emily Woo Zeller was perfect for the narration of Opal & Nikola. While I wasn’t fond of Sybil’s voice or Opal’s fathers, I must admit they eventually grew on me. Zellar speaks clearly with a nice pace and I eventually settled in at around 1.3x speed.
The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger per se. It leaves us in a pretty good place but with the knowledge that Opal isn’t out of trouble yet. In fact, it’s only just beginning…
Tune in tomorrow for my review of Part-Time Gods, the second audiobook in the DFZ series!
FYI: You can grab the kindle version and upgrade to audio for $1.99. The kindle version is currently in Kindle Unlimited.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Debbie S Haupt
Oh wow I can see why you’d be all in on this one Kim and what a great title I want it.
This series was a blast and now I have added back titles by the author.
This is new one for me. Sounds like an exciting series.
A ton of fun Nadene. I hope you get a chance to try them.
Anne - Books of My Heart
I own this one and the Heartbreakers series. Fantastic review! I look forward to reading this sometime soon.
I added the Heartbreaker series to my wishlist.
sounds like a great series and i love that title
These are fun Sherry.
I still need to read the Dragon series, but I’m glad to know the spin off is a good one, too.
Ha..me too Sophia. I did this for Read a Series in A Month and ended up adding another series!
Oh yes I was offered this one so I can’t wait to try it!
I hope you end up trying them!