Thursday, 11 September 2014

Book Review: Justice Calling by Annie Bellet


Gamer. Nerd. Sorceress.

Jade Crow lives a quiet life running her comic book and game store in Wylde, Idaho. After twenty-five years fleeing from a powerful sorcerer who wants to eat her heart and take her powers, quiet suits her just fine. Surrounded by friends who are even less human than she is, Jade figures she’s finally safe.

As long as she doesn’t use her magic.

When dark powers threaten her friends’ lives, a sexy shape-shifter enforcer shows up. He’s the shifter world’s judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one, and he thinks Jade is to blame. To clear her name, save her friends, and stop the villain, she’ll have to use her wits… and her sorceress powers.

Except Jade knows that as soon as she does, a far deadlier nemesis awaits.

Justice Calling is the first book in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress urban fantasy series. Readers who enjoyed The Dresden Files or The Iron Druid Chronicles will likely enjoy this series.


My Review:
Jade has kept the full details of her magical ability secret from even her closest friends as she makes a new life for herself. Using her magic will alert her psycho, heart eating ex to her location and endanger everyone she loves. But shifters are vanishing in town and Jade might have to risk her safety to save lives.

I enjoyed this urban fantasy novella a lot. Firstly it has a beautiful cover, which I like to see in my books. As it is under 100 pages, the author is not wasting much time on description. We get the basic descriptions that we need to set the scene and describe the characters appearances and that is all. That actually suits me as I don't like pages of descriptions about every room the person goes into and every piece of clothing worn by everyone etc. I like to get straight to the point of the story and this book certainly does that.

Jade is a good character. She is feisty and loyal but lives in constant fear of her evil ex Samir. By not using her magic for fear of alerting him to her location, Jade finds that she gets tired and out of shape each time she needs to use magic, which is something that I liked. The author indicates that to keep magic strong and powerful, you need to practice with it and Jade is making it harder to defend herself by not doing this. It is a nice plot twist. When she is called on to use the magic, it takes a lot of effort out of her meaning we are not just seeing an invincible witch. She is vulnerable and scared which means I could relate more to her and her situation. Alek is an interesting character. When his piercing blue eyes were mentioned I got an image in my head of Viggo Mortensen which is not a bad thing to be thinking of as you read! I liked her friends and the fact that they are gaming geeks, which was fun. I also liked that the shifters in the group were all different from each other.

The plot itself was interesting. A bad guy is draining power from shifters and planning an evil ritual that Jade and her friends have to stop. OK so there might not be anything new in that but when a story is well written you don't mind it not being original. And I thought it did deliver on plot. Jade makes an almost fatal mistake near the end which again, I liked because it is something that most people would have got wrong. I liked that she had that cowardly streak that had her thinking about running away, I liked that she was scared and did stupid things.

So what were the negatives about the book? Basically the length of it. While I was ok with the reduced description, the short book meant that the whole climax of the book was a bit rushed. I'd have liked to have seen a bit more of a tension filled ending where things are ramped up, followed by a huge magical battle. This is not what we got. It was a short rescue/fight scene which was over before it really got started which was a shame. Still, it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the story. There are also a few errors in it that a bit of proof reading would sort out ie spelling and words missing from sentences. Nothing too annoying though.

I would like to continue with the series but I refuse to pay full price for the remaining paperbacks if they are short novellas. Too many authors are doing this now, splitting a normal sized novel into three parts to get three times the amount of money from the reader. As a reader on a book budget, I won't be buying them unless they become discounted or greatly increase in size.
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