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Literature / Form and Void

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"Welcome to a hidden world that lurks beneath mundane notice, of occult rites and arcane sciences, of relics and divinations, of primeval spirits whose loyalties may be won with the lure of a wand and the threat of a knife."

Form and Void is an ongoing switchblade-and-sorcery web serial, updated weekly and co-written by Cassidy Webb and Mabel Harper.

The story so far follows Caren Navarrete, a factionless "ratcatcher" (a.k.a. Bounty Hunter) who uses a Filipino tradition of magic called agimat, and Ashton Grenville, an alchemist and Martial Magus who works for the enforcement arm of a major magic faction. This Odd Couple pair up to investigate a mass murder perpetrated by a mob of mind-wiped Muggles on the night of the winter solstice in Philadelphia.

Form and Void features action sequences and a detailed Wainscot Society as well as recurring existential themes, with allusions to quantum physics informing the supernatural underpinnings of the setting. It is also notable for its two Transgender protagonists and largely LGBTQ main cast.


It can be read here.

This serial contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: In response to Ash talking back, his father literally summons a demon to torture him until Ash begs for forgiveness.
  • Action Prologue: The story opens with two mages getting into a brawl with a mob of mind-controlled mundanes. They don't survive.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mages names run the gamut from Soren, Imperia, and Phineas Gadshill, to... Lenny?
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Modern day mages, like Ash, still practice alchemy.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Both Luke and Caren use a form of Filipino magic that embeds amulets into their skin that give them special powers.
  • Badass Longcoat: Caren, befitting her occupation as a magical bounty hunter, wears a grungy trenchcoat.
  • Berserk Button: Do not use Caren's deadname.
  • Betrayal by Offspring: Not technically offspring in this case, but Caren beats her transphobic fugitive uncle senseless and turns him in for a few hundred bucks.
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  • Bounty Hunter: Caren's job involves her pursuing criminal mages into neutral territory and capturing them so she can turn them in for a hefty reward.
  • Cellphones Are Useless: Magic disrupts digital signals.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: After Caren finds out about Luke's death, she goes for a smoke and is shaking so much that she nearly drops her pack of cigarettes.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Caren's dialogue is pretty much this.
  • Content Warnings: Each chapter has content warnings at the beginning.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Ash's mother was blown up by a family rival when she was close to term with Ash, and baby Ash had to be removed from her mangled womb. Dark indeed.
  • Fictional Holiday: Instead of Christmas, the mages of Ordo Arcanus celebrate their own winter holiday called Saturnalia.
  • Healing Factor: Subverted, as this is what Caren's malfunctioning agimat is supposed to do. However, ever since Luke disappeared from her life, it's been actively causing her harm.
  • The Jersey Devil: Actually a demon used by mages to keep Muggles away from their city hidden in the Pine Barrens.
  • Kick the Dog: When Caren isn't moved by her uncle Lenny begging for mercy, he doesn't hesitate to suddenly drop her deadname (Caleb) while threatening her. Needless to say, Caren isn't happy.
  • Literal Disarming: What happens to Luke during his climactic fight in the prologue.
  • Magical Society: Ordo Arcanus appears to be this.
  • The Masquerade: Since mages aren't known to the greater public, they control the media and have the memories of Muggles erased to make sure their existence doesn't get out.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: What happens to Lenny after he drops Caren's deadname.
  • Odd Couple: Ash is a cold, rational alchemist. Caren is a wisecracking, temperamental mage hunter. Together, They Fight Crime!
  • Power Palms: Luke has a magical amulet implanted in his hand that lets him perform a Hand Blast attack. Unfortunately, we only get to see it in use a few times before a mob tears his arm off.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Caren can't go an episode without smoking.
  • Transgender: Ash is trans masculine, and Caren is a trans woman.
  • Urban Fantasy: How else would you describe a story about mages investigating magical crimes in Philadelphia?

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