I’m currently buried deep in Elizabeth Peters‘ Amelia Peabody books. I’m now on Book 8 (“The Hippopotamus Pool”) in this Egyptian mystery series. I think the reason why I’m hooked is because I like Amelia’s voice so much. She’s so matter-of-fact about everything. Ramses is also rapidly becoming one of my favourite characters – you never quite know what he’s going to do. His obsession with Nefret is hilarious too!
And I’ve changed my mind about books in this series being stand-alone. Yes, you can read them out of order, but the characters grow and develop throughout the series, so you would miss out on that if you skip around within the series.
However, as much as I love these books, I’d be the first to admit you can’t read them exclusively. So I’ve taken a break from Amelia’s world and read something completely different – a paranormal chick-lit book, “Enchanted, Inc.” by Shanna Swendson.
It had an intriguing premise: Katie Chandler is one of the few people to be so absolutely non-magical that no magic works on her. She gets hired by MSI Ltd (MSI being an acronym for Magic, Spells and Illusions) as a Verifier, as she can easily see through fake spells and illusions tried on by unscrupulous salespeople.
Ms Swendson came up with a lot of fun ideas for a world where magic is real – I wish I could do the spell that summons a subway train instantly (and makes it an express one too!). There’s also a hilarious sub-plot about kissing frogs in Central Park, and the unwanted side-effects of a frog spell. Of course, it wouldn’t really be chick-lit without a romance, and therefore there is Owen, the shy but super-sexy head of R&D, who just happens to be a really powerful magician…
I found this to be a light read. There were some scenes that really worked for me – the one where Owen and the head of Personnel were trying to out-do each other in the magical version of a macho pissing contest was rather funny. And of course, I loved Ms Swendson’s imaginative and creative magical twists on real world stuff.
However, I thought the set-up for the big show-down in this book (an evil competitor selling black spells on the market) was a bit flimsy, and well, didn’t really warrant bringing back the head honcho (trying not to give too many spoilers away here!). Also, the Marketing 101 stuff sprinkled throughout the book just didn’t work for me – probably because I didn’t care for the Marketing modules at university perhaps… And finally, the ending wasn’t that satisfying for me.
All in all, it was a bit of a mixed book for me – as I said, I loved the premise and the magical stuff, the plot and ending, not so much unfortunately. It was a good way of passing an hour or so, but I’m not sure if I’d get the next one in the series.