Title: Null and Void: A Royal States Novel
Publisher: Pen and Page Publishing
Author: Susan Copperfield
Price: $15.99 / $5.99
Welcome to the Royal States of America. Decades ago, magic returned to the world. The federal government collapsed. The sixteen families who suddenly found themselves gifted with extraordinary magical powers divided the continent up into (mostly friendly) kingdoms. And life continued. …. MacKenzie Little is a null. A citizen of the Kingdom of New York (ruled by the infamous Ambrose family) she has virtually no rights. Unemployed and rapidly running out of money, she agrees to sell herself at a charity auction. Much to her surprise, Dylan, her former boss and a man she has secretly lusted after for three years, pays the astronomical $48 million to spend twenty-four hours with her. Afterwards, they reluctantly part company and MacKenzie heads off to the Kingdom of Texas for her new job as an activist for null rights. But there is another surprise in store for MacKenzie …. And now she has even more reason to fight for null rights. Because if Dylan finds out that he has a daughter, he’ll take her away from MacKenzie …. Or will he?
I have been a fan of RJ Blain for several years, so I was excited when I discovered that she had a completely different paranormal romance/urban fantasy series under the pen name of Susan Copperfield. I was even happier when Null and Void (one of the books I had added to my wish list) turned out to be part of her Patreon account, a gift to her supporters.
First, I love the world-building. Copperfield/Blain delights in just dropping her readers into the middle of the story and expecting them to keep up. Sink or swim. She slowly doles out pieces of information, allowing the reader to put it all together, bit by bit; in the case of Null and Void, the important pieces are the true identity of Dylan (I am so not spoiling that), the exact nature of his relationship with MacKenzie (not spoiling that either), and the magical powers that may or may not have been inherited by their daughter, Mireya. Plus lots of other little mysteries.
Second, the characters are awesome. MacKenzie is fierce. She’s loyal, intelligent, and feisty. And she inspires loyalty in others. She overcomes self-doubt and her fear of public speaking to become an advocate for other nulls, most of whom live with almost no rights in any of the Royal States (and Canada is even worse). She’s also clever and has a terrific sense of humor, and she responds to sneers with biting snark.
The supporting cast is just as great. There’s her daughter Mireya, the “spawnling” who is almost too smart and curious for her own good. She inherited her mother’s pride and sense of justice, and her father’s warmth and compassion. There’s also the royal family of Texas, whose Queen loves to ditch her protective detail. And Geoff, part of that protective detail who gets assigned to MacKenzie, and never complains, despite her snarkiness. And, of course, Dylan, who is so much more than he seems (no spoilers!).
Null and Void is technically the third book in the Royal States series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. If you want to give the series a try, but don’t want to risk getting pulled into a multi-book storyline that you may not like, start here. It’s a heck of a fun ride.
Recommended to fans of RJ Blain’s other paranormal romance/urban fantasy books, as well as fans of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magics by FT Lukens, Touched by Magic by Celine Jeanjean, and the Down and Dirty Supernatural Cleaning Services series by Kate Karyus Quinn, et. al.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]