3 out of 5 stars.
I stumbled across this story by being given the opportunity to review its sequel The Curse Servant. I hadn’t realised the Curse Servant was a second book or I probably wouldn’t have read it. But I was a few chapters in when it became apparent I was and, well, I was enjoying my free copy of it so much I actually went and bought this first book to catch up on what was going on. I was not disappointed.
I’ve noticed this book being commonly likened to the Dresden series and I can sort of see why, as there are some similarities. However, I wasn’t really a fan of the Dresden series and only read the first one or two as I found it rather grating and dull. Too much “gum shoe” not enough urban fantasy. The Curse Merchant is better than that, much better.
I’m not going to waffle on about the plotline as you can go read it for that. This is my opinion of the book instead as I’d hate to blurt out a spoiler.
When asked to describe this storyline, I can really just say it is what it is. And what it is is a very good urban fantasy story where there is the group of people who live within our own that still practice and use magic. And wasn’t I so thankful it wasn’t magic with a k! Ugh! It also got brownie points from me for using hexes for what they really are! This isn’t a spoiler, but differentiating curses and hexes – yes!
So I guess you could say this was the sort of urban fantasy that was on my wave length… meaning it possibly won’t be for everyone. Especially not for those seeking raunchy sex scenes, love triangles and sparkly vampires. What a refreshing thing it was to not include any of these things too and, unsurprisingly, still be able to pull off a great story.
I did find parts of it predictable (and not just because I’d read some of the sequel first), but it was a well-paced read all round and therefore made up for this very minor flaw. It got my ‘one more chapter’ mantra going into the wee hours of the morning so deserves a thumbs up for that too. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars… if I’d not started to read the sequel first. As, quite frankly, the first book is rather shaky and brittle in comparison where the second book is strong and strides through the story a lot better… if any of that makes sense? Basically, I am preferring the writing in the second book more so it’s made me mark the first book down. This does not make it a bad book.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. I bought it I enjoyed it so much. It is, indeed, my sort of urban fantasy/ paranormal with its mixture of mystery, sarcasm and wonderfully real (and mildly insane) characters. I feel a hypocrite mentioning I felt the swearing was a bit too much at times – as I’ve received similar criticisms myself. I guess there is a time and place for swearing and I just wasn’t in them when I read it and so found them too much.
All in all a good book, a great read and a fantastic beginning to a very promising series. Highly recommend.
Until next time,