Review: Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone #1) by K.J. Charles

It’s amazing what people throw away…

Crispin Tredarloe never meant to become a warlock. Freed from his treacherous master, he’s learning how to use his magical powers the right way. But it’s brutally hard work. Not everyone believes he’s a reformed character, and the strain is putting unbearable pressure on his secret relationship with waste-man Ned Hall.

Ned’s sick of magic. Sick of the trouble it brings, sick of its dangerous grip on Crispin and the miserable look it puts in his eyes, and sick of being afraid that a gentleman magician won’t want a street paper-seller forever—or even for much longer.

But something is stirring among London’s forgotten discards. An ancient evil is waking up and seeking its freedom. And when wild magic hits the rag-and-bottle shop where Ned lives, a panicking Crispin falls back onto bad habits. The embattled lovers must find a way to work together—or London could go up in flames.

This story is set in the world of the Charm of Magpies series.

Warning: Contains a warlock who needs to go straight (but isn’t), a waste-man running out of patience, blood magic, bad-tempered justiciars, and a pen with a mind of its own.

"Oh my days..."

This story should've been named Sweetness and Light. I feel like I tasted a rainbow after reading Nespin's story. No Skittles required!

I even thought their fighting was cute! I found myself smiling almost the entire time. KJC does a marvelous job of showing both sides of the proverbial coin and making me like both characters equally. Her skills in fleshing out characters quickly is unparalleled so much so that I knew even when they quarreled that they loved each other to pieces even if they hadn't said it out loud, but all of the dialogue buttressed the radiance of these two. 

They don't have the magic of Craphen, but they have something that's entirely, uniquely their own. 

Mate, you're the best thing I've ever had.

Crispin is a graphomancer and is making an effort to develop his powers without using blood magic. This is a... battle because trouble seems drawn to these two like a moth to a flame. Strange events that involve them both and requires they work together to unravel these mysteries. Simply put, they make a good team. Crispin has the worst luck and that just messes with his head. Ned provides the balance; he's very sensible and logical, steady. What I loved the most, though, was the way they fill in each other's blanks and do it in such a seamless way. Neither comes across as flawed or lacking. 

Which is precisely what kept giving me the rainbow feels-every time one of them would start to doubt their worth or think they weren't good enough for the other those fears were allayed and their relationship strengthened. Really, it made my heart swell. They're the perfect balance of sweetness without being saccharine. And every time Ned called Crispin Freckles... And how Crispin always ends up doodling Ned... I just... Right. In. The. Feels.

Of course, the justiciars make appearances, Stephen and Mrs. Gold included, which I loved; yet this is wholly Nespin's adventure, parts of which are disgusting. That creature thing... *shudders* I could almost smell that thing. They should get an award for not hurling. I felt like hurling. One word-GROSS. The story is nicely paced and beautifully written, as always, with evocative language. 

I'm not sure where the series is headed, but there was a character that made a brief appearance who Ned dubbed "Blue Eyes" that I'm still quite curious about. I feel like we've not seen the last of ole Blue Eyes. I certainly hope we've not seen the last of Nespin because everyone needs this kind of sweetness in their lives.
A man could write a thing and even if he didn't have Crispin's powers, sometimes the world changed anyway.

I think it's prudent to advise anyone considering reading this to read A Queer Trade first. There are several references to events that happened in that short that are relevant to this story.

Another entertaining, fun and just a delightful KJC read and a beguiling addition to the Charm of the Magpies universe.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.


  1. That Giraffe Gif.... no words.... except BEST GIF EVER!!
    The review rocks too, but that gif *stares some more* Magical!