Read Dog Days by John Levitt Online


First in a new urban fantasy series-with a bite as magical as its bark. Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that suspect magic practitioners stayed in line. But now he scrapes out a living playing guitar. Good thing he has Louie, his magical...well, let's call him a dog. But there are some kinds of evil that even Louie can't sniff out. And when Mason is attacked by a sFirst in a new urban fantasy series-with a bite as magical as its bark. Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that suspect magic practitioners stayed in line. But now he scrapes out a living playing guitar. Good thing he has Louie, his magical...well, let's call him a dog. But there are some kinds of evil that even Louie can't sniff out. And when Mason is attacked by a supernatural assailant, he'll have to fall back on the one skill he's mastered in music and magic-improvisation....

Title : Dog Days
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441015535
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dog Days Reviews

  • Kelly H. (Maybedog)
    2018-10-17 19:15

    This just isn't working for me. (I'm not having a lot of lucky with series containing dogs lately and it's just not fair.) There is way too much telling telling telling. The main character is laid back which is nice. He really fits my image of a musician who's a slacker. But he's too laid back. He deals with a magical attack and he isn't scared and when it's over he just moves on to whatever he was going to do before the attack. So far the attacks have been really weak, too. I've not been impressed with the alleged peril the protagonist is under. Also, we are constantly reminded of how lazy he is and how much potential he has. So we know he's strong and powerful (although he's only used his powers once so far and he's been magically attacked three times). But he has also informed us that he's really good looking, that he's an amazing guitar player, that he's the perfect sub guitar player because he can do this and this and that. For a laid back guy, he is certainly not humble. Oh, and at one point he disguises a fire hydrant so he can park in front of it (not even in an emergency)! There's a reason you can't park in front of them selfish jerk. It's great that there's a main character whose gay, although he's an ass. Mason is careful to point out that although he intellectually understands homosexuality, he really doesn't get it at all. Thank you manly man. Aside from Mason and the gay guy, the other key players are a woman and a brilliant black man. Diversity: cool. But the black guy is huge and played football (and coaches it for kids although he doesn't like it) and the woman's magic skills are empathy and intuition. Yea, let's break some stereotypes there. I think his heart is in trying to. E good and yet his inner white boy is showing. At one point he is almost mugged by some gangsters. He uses the PC word, Latino, but he does point out their race. Now it makes sense in storytelling but it's also a stereotype. Hopefully later on in the book he breaks some of these down but not so far. I am ambivalent about this book. I could go on, I don't hate it, but I'm also suffering from ennui. The not-dog isn't interesting enough to spur me on. The laziness of the protagonist is catching. So I can't be bothered finding the energy to finish this. <**Yawn**>

  • Angela
    2018-10-20 21:23

    On paper, Dog Days seems like it's tailor-made for me: it's an urban fantasy starring a musician, a guitar player named Mason who much prefers his music over his magic. And he's got a clever little companion, a dog-like magical creature who's often more capable than Mason himself at getting them out of trouble. Guitar player? I said. Finding himself having to investigate what the hell is targeting magic practitioners all over San Francisco? I said. Sign me up.However, it took me a while to really get into the story, and even now, after I've finished it, I'm not entirely sure what I think. It's not as fast-paced as many current urban fantasy novels, which many may consider a drawback; me, I wasn't particularly bothered by the level of action, since there's a good amount. I was more distracted by the pacing of Mason's narration, and by the dialogue.As a narrator Mason is not in the mold of first-person-smartass that's so common these days. That's actually a plus. He's generally very laid back and ruminative, and there are stretches in this book where I got a sense off his narration of what he might sound like playing the guitar--not obtrusive, but with enough of a hint of intriguing layers that I would want to keep listening. But it's inconsistent. There are bits where he tries to be flip and smartassed, both in the narration and in the dialogue, and they feel forced. So does Mason's description of himself as having "brooding intensity"; I can't think of anyone who would actually describe themselves that way outside a personals site. He also has a way of flinging the reader backstory in distracting places--like when he's about to be attacked by a monster. This is not the place where I want to be told about a bit of encounter he once had with his mentor, even if the conversation is pertinent to what's about to eat his face.The dialogue in general has issues, not just Mason's. Characters harp more than once about how much "potential" Mason has and how "lazy" he is, both as a magic practitioner and a musician--and these people are supposed to be his friends and colleagues. Mason, justifiably, finds this irritating. The problem is, it's also irritating to the reader to have that point driven home not once but several times in the dialogue, overshadowing what evidence we see in Mason's actual behavior.And yet. There is this periodic sense for me that there's some music here. Maybe not fully formed yet, maybe lacking cohesion, but there. I was interested enough in the story to hang in there until the end, and was oddly satisfied to find that the ending is not without its cost for Mason--thereby setting the stage for him to maybe grow into that potential that everybody keeps harping on him about.So yeah, I will probably come back around for another few bars of this, and pick up Book 2, which just came out. For this one, three stars.

  • ᴥ Irena ᴥ
    2018-10-31 20:29

    The premise is that there are people around us who practice magic trying to keep low profile at least as far as their abilities go. I love the idea of ifrits, animal-like creatures who just appear one day and follow a practitioner. Nobody knows where they come from, nor where they go when they leave. Most of the time ifrits are like ordinary pets. They are very rare and not everyone has one. Mason has Louie and I loved that tiny dog.I usually give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the first book in a series unless it is something that's really annoying or something I really hate.As far as this book goes, it has a good story so it is not one of those. It does, however, have certain annoying issues. I'll try to keep it short and only point some of them.Mason is the first. He is supposed to be an adult, but acts like a teenager. I am not a fan of teen protagonists at their best. He never lets go of his jealousy/annoyance/don't-know-exactly-what towards Victor whom I found almost perfect. The guy doesn't like Mason (I don't blame him), but he is always there. Helping. Maybe he changes in other books, but in this one Victor is someone I want to read about. Next we have Eli. He is supposed to be this smart knows-it-all, but he is surprised by every single thing that happens in this book. Then we have a moment when the two female characters meet for the first time. They both have some connection to Mason and without going into spoilers, I think there was absolutely no need for the subtle animosity. It's fixed later by a shushed conversation, but it is still annoying.The villain is despicable. Certain things are almost out of place in this story. The thing is, I never got the impression that the villain is that bad, so when I got to the despicable part, it was a very unpleasant surprise. It's like I expected something less horrible.Overall, I liked the story well enough, but not some of the characters. Ifrits and the promise of a very interesting world plus the things that left unresolved (the crystalline creatures) are enough to make me want to read more about Mason and Louie.

  • Amanda
    2018-11-06 18:05

    Overall, it was okay. I don't think I'm going to look around for any possible sequels (author bio indicated he would be writing them) because it seemed like 3/4 of the way in he stopped writing this book and started setting us up for the next book. No, no thanks.Good things about Dog Days:There are magic practitioners, and they are called just that: practitioners. Some are strong, some are weak, some are nice, mean, venal, noble, just like anyone else. Many of them have *gasp* day jobs. They are not immortal. They are not called Wytches, Wizards, Specials, or any other gag-worthy names. They have some inborn talent, which they practice.The Ifrits, the concept, and Louie in particular.Mason, our valorous Hero, is a pretty normal guy. He is a musician and in fact makes his living playing. He's got lots of natural talent but hasn't really lived up to his potential because he doesn't care enough about it. He's kind of the slacker of practitioners and a smartass to boot.Bad things:Too hurried at the end. So many hints dropped about the fact that the Ifrits are magically mysterious and nobody knows nothin' about them that it's obvious he's stringing us along until he can figure something out about them to put in one of the next books.Victor - the prissy, superrich, superpowerful, superarrogant moneyman and enforcer of local pratctitioner ethics. No character development. He's a rich, snobby, arrogant and pushy cardboard cutout of the anti-Mason. More character development for Eli and Victor would have been nice.The boring and forced "wrap up" bit at the end where Mason pompously says things don't work out between him and a romantic interest: "Campbell is a healer. I'm a killer." It's cheesy in this context. If you kill someone who has murdered other people, who is trying to kill you, and who will go on killing and maiming unless removed, you aren't exactly Joe Killer guy. I think the healer would have done the same thing in the situation. Campbell could have kicked the Villian's ass.Stereotypes out the wazoo. Women are victims or noble healers. Gays are prissy and have great fashion sense. Musicians are laid back and cool. College professors are absentminded and interested in obscure bits of historical trivia.

  • Anita
    2018-10-27 14:29

    I was surprized by how much I liked this book. It's a contemporary urban fantasy set in San Francisco, with a Harry Dresden-esque vibe to it. Similarities to that blockbuster series include magic users hiding in plain site and a slightly lazy hero with a crappy car, a magic dog, interesting friends, and a pleasant, but sarcastic, attitude. Even with all those similarities, it doesn't feel like a rip-off, more like a comfortable way to tide yourself over until the next Dresden comes out. And the writing's good - maybe I'll grow to like this series every bit as much as Dresden.The hero is Mason, and he's not that interested in magic - he just wants to continue his music career in peace. He's got a lot of raw talent that he doesn't know how to use very well, but he's good at improvising, both in magic and music. When a bad guy targets him for magical attacks, Mason calls on friends to help him out and gets drawn into a much bigger threat than any of them realized.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-11-06 19:27

    I'm always looking for another "good" Fantasy or Urban Fantasy. This one sort of comes up the "Good Book" line, puts it's toe or maybe a foot over now and then and then jerks it back. There are good and not so good things here, so let me give you a bottom line and then I'll mention a few details.The book is "okay". I think I will follow the series for at least one more volume... The jury's out I guess. I have hopes for the series.Now what are the pluses and minuses? Well it's a good idea. The animal companion is a standard in literature and fantasy. It shows up in several "incarnations". Here we have a dog (the book also includes cat companions, we're even told most times these companions show up as cats). These "animals" are we are told actually Ifrits... That brings me to an, well if not a negative at least a question. Why did he choose Ifrits? An Ifrit comes from Arabic mythology and they are generally seen as "infernal" best fire Jinns. Now a writer can side step these things and make his or her own mythology (note all the friendly, romantic, sparkly even "loving" vampires of late). Still, why not just call them Jinn???? Oh well, possibly just a choice.Now the book is built around a character who is a sort ne'er-do-well jazz musician. He goes on and on about he's never worked at his music or his magic...he's just so d**m talented...Right.The plot...well again, not bad but there is so much foreshadowing I doubt you'll be very surprised when you get there. It's bad, it's not trite but there is just a bit of a cookie cutter feel to some of the people, relationships and storyline. You know how TV programs often do a couple of seasons letting you get to know the characters (as say NCIS) then after you know them and care they put in a Personal story line where you lose a character, killed off or threatened? But sometimes a series will start and try to launch right into the personal story plot but it's too soon? The series just began and you don't know the characters well enough to be involved. That's sort of what happens here. The point the plot turns on would have been better used in a third novel...after we know Mason and Louie better. Look, I wanted to like this book. I love dogs, I like UF I'm routing for this series all the way. So all that said, I skimmed some through this one. I'm just a little disappointed with it...but I plan to try the next. See what you think.

  • Chichipio
    2018-11-02 15:01

    It's not that it wasn't entertaining but I have several problems with this book. In short, it's a fun read if you don't look too closely at it.First, this a book focused on magic so I expected the magic system to be more fleshed out. As it was, you go through the book without ever having a clear measure of how much power the characters wield or how that power translates in terms of action. For example, in one part of the story our hero performs three spells in a row; two having results that makes me think of a moderate application of effort and one that seems to require a lot of power. After that, he's exhausted. So I think "fine, I think I've got it, three kick-ass spells is his limit." Later, another day, after having slept, eaten and all other activities you can think of to restore his energy, he finds himself in another trouble. Now, however, after performing one lousy trick—in terms of results and apparent effort—he declares he's exhausted and can't perform anything else. That kind of thing loses me. Besides, the whole bit about "I use whatever I have near to create a spell" sounds too vague and without any real constraints. Anything can be used in any way to serve the story.Second, the support characters. From the first to the last, all of them one-dimensional. Fine for a character that'll appear in a couple of pages but when you're talking of the inner group that surrounds the main character (mentor, boss and two love interests) I expect more. The two love interests particularly, entered and left the scene without any lasting impressions.I'll give the next book a chance, because like I said, despite these problems the book was fun and Mason is a likable guy, but I read series mostly for the characters, so if they're not fleshed out pronto, I don't think I'll stick around for long.

  • Patty
    2018-10-17 21:15

    Urban fantasy is the hot genre...but when it explodes like this you get all sorts jumping in to be the next Butcher or Hamilton. If you've never read a Butcher book, then this book may be more likable to you...if you have, then you can easily see carbon copies of "Dresden Files" characters all around in this book. It has some good moments and good ideas, but seems to heavily influenced by others in the genre.

  • Fangs for the Fantasy
    2018-10-30 16:18

    Mason makes a living filling in with different bands as a jazz guitarist in San Fransisco. With his dog which is quite a dog Leo by his side, life has settled into a comfortable routine. Sure he could be doing more with his magic and even more with his career but at the end of the day Mason is just too damn lazy to put in the effort. To play jazz, one has to be able to improvise and instead of learning the real fundamentals of magic and honing his skills, Mason simply improvises - that is until he meets someone runs afoul of a fellow practitioner who has decided to gain power at all costs. Dog Days is a pretty steady novel but for an introduction to a series, it was really lacking in giving us a good feel for the world. We learn that each practitioner is born with varying degrees of magic and some of them are lucky enough to get a familiar (read ifrit) as a companion. We know that they have a series of governing bodies and that they use a check and balance system to ensure that they don't end up with a practitioner that is overly strong. That's essentially it for the world building. It's beyond basic.Even the plot line is very basic. There are no real twists and turns to the story and I feel as though that really made the antagonists decision to go after the less than earnest Mason underwhelming at best. I just didn't buy his motivation. In the end, it all came down to Christoph wanting Mason's ifrit and that he simply didn't like Mason. We are told almost in passing that Leo is special but it is never really explained how or why. In fact, though the ifrit are everywhere in this story we don't know anything about them beyond the fact that each has some kind of special power and is bonded to a particular practitioner. Yep, that's a pretty massive plot hole. Levitt made a real effort to be inclusive with Dog Days; however, all the marginalized characters read like cardboard cut outs. The two women characters are interchangeable love interests and victims. Naturally, being women, their special powers involve healing and you guessed it empathy. I wonder if their power comes oozing out of their ovaries? There was never any doubt that one of them was going to die but Levitt double downed and dumped the other into the plot box for later in a manner which made absolutely no sense. If someone had tried to kill you on several occasions, murdered someone you cared about before your very eyes, as well as attempted to murder a beloved pet and you respond by taking their life in self defense that doesn't make you a killer. The idea that Mason is now suddenly a killer and an unfit match for a healer is ridiculous.The major GLBT character in this story is Victor who is a powerful practitioner, super wealthy, head of the enforcers and of course has an impeccable eye for fashion and all things classical. Victor apparently goes through men on a rotating monthly basis but has finally found love with Danny. If Levitt had not included a GLBT character while setting his story in San Francisco of all places I certainly would have been rolling my eyes; however, at times, Victor feels like another card board cut out, particularly because he is described as "Prissy. Bitchy. The perfect gay neighbour on a bad sitcom." Read More

  • Mara
    2018-10-17 16:07

    Fav quote: This made no sense at all. It bore no relation to any charm I'd ever seen or heard of. Then I heard the words of Eli, my old mentor and the smartest man I know, echoing in my head. One of his many, many, lectures about attack and defense."Misdirection, son. That's the secret. Just like stage magic. Not everything has to do with power and talent, you see. Start clucking like a chicken, and when they stop to see what the hell is wrong with you, knock 'em upside the head with a two-by-four. Sometimes magic alone just won't cut it."Our jazz guitarist protagonist, Mason, is actually a practitioner of magic, with a rare talent: he can improvise spells using whatever is at hand, from fog and smells to what he feels or perceives at the moment. Living with him and helping him keep out of trouble is his magical dog, Lou. Lou is an Ifrit, a supernatural being in the form of a smallish dog, but he functions as a sort of witch's familiar. Ifrits are rare and precious, not everyone can get one, or even keep him/her for as long as one wishes (they can one day just up and leave, emotionally and magically crippling their "owner" in the process).Anyway, stuff happens, someone is trying to harm Mason for reasons unknown, and it turns out there is a dastardly villain to be taken care of. Fortunately, Mason can improvise, and he has help from Lou and his friends...The plot trotted at an uneven pace, sometimes adequately fast-paced for an urban fantasy novel, sometimes slow enough to make me consider giving up or skipping ahead. Mason has an irritating habit, thanks to the author, to start rhapsodizing on something while in the middle of an action scene. While I understood why this may have been at some points necessary, I felt it was overused. Speaking of Mason, he tried to be unnecessarily sassy at times, which I thought was a bit out of character (Mason is this laid-back guy). Also, his friends kept mentioning how Mason could have been this great practitioner, if only he had devoted himself to his craft, basically making him pout in response (with good reason, I must say). The dialogue was unconvincing at times (somewhat wooden), and there were some annoyingly cryptic things said, but whatever. Finally, I was pleased to have finished the book, but I'm not sure if I'm up for the next one.Overall, this was an uneven read. Despite interesting world-building, Lou's doggy cuteness, and some nice action/magic scenes, I can't really give this more than three stars. YMMV.

  • Tracey
    2018-10-31 22:24

    Sometimes, I find to my annoyance, I allow myself to be swayed by others' opinions. For example: a while back I tentatively suggested John Levitt's Dog Days for a group read on a GR group I used to belong to, and one comment the suggestion received was that it "sounds really bad". There was a little support, too, but I actually allowed my preconception of the book to be swayed by others' concentration on the possibility of cheesiness in the concept, and I dropped the idea and moved on to other books. But it filtered back up to the upper stories of my TBR skyscraper. I seem to be trending right now toward urban fantasy: here and now and with at least one foot in reality. So I settled down with Dog Days, set in present-day slightly-alternate San Francisco. Moral: I need to not let myself be at all influenced by others who have not read a given book.I loved it. Was it perfect? Of course not. Did it inspire Dresden-like feelings? No – but then, neither did Storm Front, really. Was it cheesy? Not at all. Is it ill-served by a somewhat questionable cover and over-abundance of canine puns in the title and marketing? Oh, my, yes. Whoever had the idea to put the series titles' focus on the dog and choose some fool's punny comment as this edition's cover blurb should be flogged (even if the titles were Levitt's idea). The packaging gives every impression of just another annoying entry in the Animal Companion subgenre, a book and series throughout which the hero will be having many conversations with his smart-alecky or wiser-than-he-is or what-have-you TelCom (Telepathic Companion). It's really not. More going up shortly on my blog.

  • Barbara Gordon
    2018-11-10 18:12

    This reminded me of Blood Engines by Tim Pratt, in having a notably flawed protagonist and relying on the charm of secondary characters to pull the reader along. On the one hand, Mason is less unpleasant than Marla - he's just unmotivated and self-centred. On the other hand, perhaps because Mason is the narrator, those interesting secondary characters aren't as well developed. Even Lou, the dog/ifrit who drives the story, didn't get as much space as such a cool creature deserved. The writing was competent and understated, and I found Mason's talent for improvised magic believable. The infodumps were, I thought, better spaced and measured than in Blood Engines. My biggest problems derived directly from Mason's personality. If the protagonist isn't worried or committed, it's difficult for me-the-reader to be very worried or committed, and Mason is so laid-back and uncommitted that he comes off as uninterested or even callous.I understand this is a series, so perhaps Mason will change and mature, and perhaps that will allow the secondary characters to be deepened as he sees them more fully.

  • John
    2018-10-22 18:13

    A solid start in a new urban fantasy series (I have New Tricks unread on my book shelf). The main character, Mason, is the moderately typical magic user who never focused and failed to live up to his "potential" in anything he did, music or magic. He has the stern but loving father figure/mentor, Eli, and a by the book, disapproving boss Victor.While there is little new in terms of the basic character archetypes, Mason's method of casting spells is quite interesting as is the major conflict of the story. Levitt isn't shy about introducing characters and then taking them in unexpected directions.This book would have been 4 stars if the writing had been a bit more polished and if Levitt didn't spend so much time expounding on Mason's spell casting being improvisational until it felt like I was being beaten over the head with the point.Still, I'll be moving quickly on to the sequel to see if a promising first novel turns into a really solid second.

  • Stephen Stewart
    2018-11-08 18:19

    This books reminds me a ton of Jim Butcher's "Storm Front". There are a lot of similarities with each other. Both have a male protagonist just learning to really master his magical powers and are involved in an adventure that ends with the hint that there is more going on that they know about. Between The Dresden Files and Dog Days, I think I just prefer Harry Dresden over Mason - Mason's tone is darker, more brooding, and the book doesn't feel as light as Butcher's novels. There are also moments in the plot I found a tad puzzling too (like who on earth would think summoning a demon would be a good idea - and guess what, it isn't. Not sure why those chapters even happened).Overall, it's a fun first book to a series, and I look forward to grabbing the sequel someday.

  • Temaris
    2018-10-29 16:24

    I think I'm supposed to find the re-iterations of how the hero's talent is making it up as he goes along, and he's a jazz musician, and he knows his magic by instinct like he knows his music by instinct, but he's not living up to his potential as self-deprecating, endearing and impressive. Sadly, it's mostly annoying, and I found myself blinking at him and wondering why the hell he's so bloody stupid and lazy. Interesting story, but probably not buying the sequel. Oh, and I thoroughly disliked the way all the women present were either victims or a love interest. Sometimes, both. Niiice.

  • Yolanda Sfetsos
    2018-11-07 16:20

    This is a new urban fantasy series which really caught my eye. And man, now that I've read it, I gotta say: Wow! I really, really enjoyed it. Mason's a great narrator, and I can really see myself getting lost in this new world. It was an excellent read, with a world rich in detail.The secondary characters were also great. Actually, everything about this book was fabulous. I love the concepts and the magical community of practitioners. It set the series up in a wonderful way, with many obstacles already stacked against Mason. And I love the cover!Yeah, I'm in jumpin' on this ride. ;)

  • Shanshad Whelan
    2018-11-08 22:15

    The writing didn't really grab me, I'm afraid. And what really made this read frustrating is that I had figured out most of the plot by the first third of the book. When the characters are clueless and the reader is sitting there going 'ummm hellooo? protagonists? Get a clue already?' it's not a good thing. While the premise has atmosphere and might improve with time, I honestly couldn't get into it enough to care about the characters or invest more time in the reading.

  • Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
    2018-10-25 20:27

    More like 2.5. I think this author has promise, but there were pages and pages at a time with no dialogue or even interior monologue, just description. This was ... kind of wearing. Plus, I was bothered by some of the relationship dynamics, and some of the characters who were (view spoiler)[glorified cannon fodder and motivation for the hero. (hide spoiler)]

  • Stacie
    2018-11-05 15:28

    Wasn't quite the novel I was looking for, but had some interesting ideas about spellcasting and music. Took me a bit to get into, but carried me through after I got used to the rhythm.

  • Missy Ann
    2018-11-06 14:18

    The most positive aspect of the book was that it proved dumber than dirt characters are not *solely* female characters.

  • M Hamed
    2018-11-07 21:14

    100% predictable riddled with plot holes to keep the writer vomiting more words,and honestly is there any thing more whorey

  • Josh
    2018-11-07 18:25

    A solid effort from John Levitt, an author I'd never read before. The premise is interesting: magical practitioner (Mason) has basically dropped out of the magical community to play music (jazz), but still has his familiar and Ifrit in the shape of a dog, giving Mason man's best friend a little something extra, and keeping him tied in to the community.Levitt does a solid job setting up a bunch of players in Mason's life, establishing him as something of a loner who nonetheless still has allies he can count on. They're mostly sketched in broad strokes, but they're a likable and relateable enough group: the powerful mentor who put him on the path and whose head is in the clouds of theory more than reality, the efficient cold (and gay) head of enforcement who Mason spars with but has an underlying mutual respect, and the empathic ex-gf fellow practitioner who helps sweep him back into the life.Mason is a bit of a mope, possessed with great talent that he apparently squanders, barely scraping by as a musician (again despite significant talent) but with special enough gifts to keep him in the center of the plot. But he's also not a bad guy, tries to do the right thing, and knows he has a righteous dog to help him get through it all.It's a fairly fast read, and the action sequences are pretty solid, without a lot of wasted, unrealistic flash. But one of the challenges in a book like this is to lay out the rules for your magic system, and while Levitt has Mason and other characters go on for a bit about power levels and what is and isn't possible, the actual magic system still feels largely unformed and giving the lead character the ability to form things up on the fly in ways that other casters can, leans an aura of deus ex machina that I don't think Levitt wants.There a couple of problems with the climax as well that are going to downgrade this a bit for me, both in the build (where the bad guy has control of the situation snatched away from him simply through another character choosing to speak up and dictate terms; felt a bit forced seeing how little respect the Big Bad has for anyone) and in the nasty twist just before the final face-off. The twist felt a bit forced and cheap, especially with the hangover from it that ends the book. I might even argue that the book ended 10 pages too early or too late.Still and all, a solid read with real potential if Levitt manages to iron some of his structural & conceptual issues regarding magic, and well as managing his pacing a bit better.

  • Marcia
    2018-11-03 15:01

    Well, I’m not sure what to say about this book. It has good points. And it has bad points. I’m still pondering them to see which outweighs which. Good Points:1. Pretty solid, though not inspired, writing.2. Interesting concepts, including Ifrits. (Books with Ifrits are always interesting, since each author seems to have a different take on exactly what they are, and you never know what you’ll get.)3. Magic. Lots of it.Bad Points:1. Plot with plenty of creepy-crawlies still never quite evoked even a shiver from me.2. Though he was affable enough, I could not connect with the main character, Mason, on any meaningful level.3. Inconsistencies in how magic works, how much power it takes, and how it affects Mason.4. Secondary characters who were less than well-fleshed out. Villain evoked no emotion from me at all. Neither did either of the love interests.Of course, the book has one major obstacle to overcome right from the start, and that would be the inevitable comparisons to The Dresden Files. It certainly does not live up to the action, the humor, or the drama of Jim Butcher’s blockbuster series. It’s more like Dresden Files Lite, with a hero who is sort of like Harry Dresden, only on downers. In decorating, there is a certain school of thought that embraces minimalism. In this case, I’m not sure “Less Is Better.” Having said all of that, I do see potential in the book, and it was written well enough that I didn’t hate it. (More of a ho-hum feeling). Therefore, in keeping with my current intentions to give any potentially good series at least two chances to hook me, I do plan to read the second book. Many times, a moderately interesting first book can become a stepping stone for a really strong series. This one deserves a chance for that to happen, too. I’m giving it 3 stars for potential.Bookin' It

  • TJ
    2018-10-31 14:23

    I believe it's the first in a series. Official summary:"You'd think that having magical talent would be a good thing, but it's not all it's cracked up to be. Sure, it can be useful. It's fun to pull off the occasional illusion. IVe been told I'm not livin gup to my potentia, but all I want is to keep my head down and play guitar. Unfortunately, someone in San Francisco has decided that's not an option."Mason used to work as an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practionoer without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But he gave all that up for a quiet life, scraping out a living playing his guitar, keeping a low profile with Louie, his magical...well, let's call him a dog. Luckily, Louie has a sixth sense for danger, and Mason know exactly how dead he'd be without him. But there are some kinds of evil that even Louie can't sniff out. Leaving a club one night, Mason is attacked by an assailant who is most definitely of the supernatural persuasion. He realized that someone wants him dead. To defend himself, he'll have tofall back on the o ne skill he's mastered in musis AND magic- improvisation.I'm still near the beginning, maybe a quarter of the way through, and it's very good. It caught my interest from the beginning, and it has all that a reader might want. Mason is accompanied by his faithful not-quite-dog Louie, has occasional interactions with a beautiful past co-worker and love interest, listens to the sage advice of his much loved mentor,and even has a sort-of ally that is still protagonist- a powerful 'practicioner'- the autor's word for magician- that runs the enforcers but that Mason dislikes because of his take-charge and authorative personality. And all this in the first few chapters! I'll definately continue on with the series.

  • Dlora
    2018-10-24 18:21

    I picked up Dog Days and New Tricks at the library, a lot because there was a dog in it. Turns out the dog is actually an ifrit--a magical creature who acts a lot like a really smart dog. This series is an urban fantasy that reminded me a bit of the Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher. Mason is a magic practitioner (not a magician or sorcerer) who really is more interested in playing improv jazz on his guitar than working magic. (There are some good passages about music and playing in jazz groups.) His mentor Eli, who was a big black football player but really leans more toward the academic in the magic world, keeps trying to get Mason to train his magical talent but Mason is a bit on the lazy side. Oddly enough, it is his musical talent that seem to define and shape the way he uses his magic. "Magical operations are about using talent to manipulate energy, plain and simple. Practitioners use all sorts of items to focus that energy, but it's exactly that--a focusing device." Some practitioners use spells and chants, others might use black magic rituals, still others rely on talismans or herbs and incense. Author John Levitt has done a fascinating job creating a hidden world of magic coexisting with normal urban life. I really liked Mason who is not as smart-ass as some main characters. He's pleasant but somewhat sarcastic, and he is usually thrown into situations where he needs a bit of help from his "dog" Louie, or his practitioner friends, or just plain happenstance to help him out. We get the feeling he'd have fewer troubles and be better prepared to get out of trouble when it chased him down if he would spend a bit more time developing his raw potential. I'd have read the next book in the series but my library doesn't carry them! I'm not sure I like the books quite well enough to spring for buying them. Maybe I can find them used!

  • JC
    2018-10-31 21:13

    The county library recommended this series to me, since I'm already neck deep in Urban Fantasy following Harry Dresden (Wizard/Detective of Chicago), Felix Castor (London-based Ghost Hunter), and Mercy Thompson (VW Mechanic and Coyote Girl running with a Werewolf pack), so what's one more, right? Besides, I'm still waiting for the next book in each of the above's series to come available, so it's good to have something to pass my time with. I'm just glad it's a great series like Dog Days.Dog Days is about Mason, a magical practitioner and Jazz musician living in San Francisco, and his dog, sorta, named Lou. Lou is an Ifrit, a semi-magical creature that protects and guides Mason in the world of magic. Lou picked Mason out of dozens of other practitioners, and he doesn't know why, but he is glad to have him.Mason doesn't do much magic, preferring his gig as a Jazz guitarist, but someone is trying to kill Mason with magic, so he doesn't have much of a choice. One of the things I like about Mason is how Levitt has set him up for greatness (though I get the feeling the author may have played a little Mage the Ascension). Mason doesn't rely on pre-set items to help him with his spells. In one nice scene, he takes the slipperyness of some oil in his driveway with some running water, to make his arm fluid and slippery to escape a particular death-trap. Like playing Jazz, he's a master of improvisation with his magic, and that gives him a tremendous edge.The supporting cast is great, and are already people I'm interested in and concerned about. I'm looking forward to reading the next book now (good thing I've already checked it out from the Library).

  • Janet
    2018-10-22 18:20

    I'm giving this book 4 stars. Although, it certainly hasn't turned me into a sci-fi reader, now I understand the lure a little better. The only other scrape I had with sci-fi, was when I tried to read Dune and couldn't even get halfway through. I found it extremely laborious and just to 'out there'. But I like John Levitt so much I have my library searching for his next sequel.I absolutely love whenever a book that is dramatic is interwoven with humor. It doesn't matter what kind of humor; caustic, self-depreciating, even inane. I really enjoyed all of the characters. It seems a lot of readers hated the lack of self-motivation in Mason, but to me it was his character. It contributed to the book. I really hate when all the heroes are gorgeous , all that heroines are beautiful, and they are all brave and incredibly smart, always have astounding sex (Reaching climax simultaneously while the earth shatters around them) and always end up happily together forever. Phuleese! This is why I can't stand romantic novels. All the same.A couple of gems I got from this book I'll carry with me. The frog and scorpion story, which I never heard before but will consider from time to time for the rest of my life. Also,I think, a simple sentence in this book is describing our sad society of guns don't kill. LOL! If only people would kill, have to kill, with their bare hands or at least a knife close in, there would be less destruction and devastation. The basis "I discovered that killing another human being with your bare hands, even one who so richly deserved it, will eat at you." This sentence belies all of the gun advocates propaganda.

  • Leilani
    2018-10-19 20:04

    I am of two minds about this book. On the one hand, an enjoyable urban fantasy read, with a male protagonist somewhat reminiscent of Harry Dresden, but less polished and snarky, with more jazz and less private investigating. His dog-like Ifrit companion Louie was, to be honest, what led me to buy this book, and he remained charming throughout. The characters were appealing enough if not overly deep, and the pace was swift enough for me without ever feeling like he was just rushing from one set-piece to another. I really did enjoy this book, especially the Ifrits, and will be seeking out the sequel.On the other hand, the fate of his ex-girlfriend Sherwood made me think unhappy thoughts about Women in Refrigerators. There were at least two female characters with names who talk to each other about something other than men, so the Bechdel test is passed, but the other woman is a healer, Earth-mother type who drifts away from Mason after he's forced to kill the evil wizard. A bit cliche. The male characters also fit broadly into types, so I'm willing to cut the author a bit of slack there. To sum up - a promising start to a fantasy series, with some not entirely original elements, just as most urban fantasies have, and a few annoying tropes. I hope the next book builds on the good elements and cuts back on the lesser ones.

  • Shelli
    2018-11-07 15:14

    A great urban fantasy novel brought down by a stupendously horrible ending. I don't think I've ever been so satisfied with a story up until the last two chapters. Having just finished reading this novel, I was planning on giving it 4 or 5 stars here, but docked it for this complete waste of an ending. The climactic plot was rushed, character death was glossed over with barely a few paragraphs of grief afterward, a cliche 'dues ex machina' sweeps in and saves the protagonist and sweeps out again, and dangling plotholes are left with no conclusion. (Whatever happened to Victor's boyfriend? What happened to the injured Ifrit raven? Why was the raven helping Christoph when he was stealing eyes from other Ifrits? What happened to the girl whose Ifrit was killed by Louie? What about the dead body of the girl on the beach, did the police ever find her?)And then, as a last 'f you' to the readers, the protagonist's quasi-girlfriend breaks up with him on the last page. Stay classy, Levitt.The only saving grace this book has is that it is apparently the first book of a series. Maybe some of these issues are addressed at the beginning of the next novel. But the author should realize that not every reader is going to rush out and pick up a second book, especially if the first book's ending leaves such a bad taste in the mouth.

  • Kati
    2018-11-02 21:02

    This might have been a great book - if I liked the main hero, Mason, better. But he was a slop that couldn't help but complain all the time: if I studied more, if I paid better attention, if I tried harder, if, if, if. True, he got out of all the bad situations but never on his own, always with someone else's help. And he never learned from it, never tried to do something about his own shortcomings. He was just as sloppy at the end as he had been at the beginning. Also, his two major relationships in the book - with Louie and with Campbell - I didn't believe in them at all. The author described them, true, but I never felt like they were real. Especially Mason's relationship with Louie was very... not there - the Ifrits should be something special but I never felt like Mason even liked Louie all that much or vice versa for that matter. Oh, and the secondary characters. Sherwood I didn't like at all. Her characterization was all over the place. Eli was more interesting. Though I especially liked Victor and it miffed me quite a bit that we never learned more about his lover Danny - why even use him if he just popped up only to be forgotten a chapter later?So yeah, the might-have-beens and ifs count for the book as much as for the hero.