Let's get one thing straight - Ivy Wilde is not a heroine. In fact, she's probably the last witch in the world who you'd call if you needed a magical helping hand, regardless of her actual abilities. If it were down to Ivy, she'd spend all day every day on her sofa where she could watch TV, munch junk food and talk to her feline familiar to her heart's content.
However, when a bureaucratic disaster ends up with Ivy as the victim of a case of mistaken identity, she's yanked very unwillingly into Arcane Branch, the investigative department of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Her problems are quadrupled when a valuable object is stolen right from under the Order's noses. It doesn't exactly help that she's been magically bound to Adeptus Exemptus Raphael Winter. He might have piercing sapphire eyes and a body which a cover model would be proud of but, as far as Ivy's concerned, he's a walking advertisement for the joyless perils of too much witch-work.
And if he makes her go to the gym again, she's definitely going to turn him into a frog.
The title of this series tickled my fancy and had me curious to give a ‘lazy girl’ witch a try. A first time with author and narrator that have both been on my ‘need to try’ list made it all the more compelling.
Slouch Witch introduces a light, fun paranormal world where witches and magic have long been a part of regular society. Now granted, the witches tend to stay to themselves unless needed and some even get snooty about having magic and how much. In fact, magic users are slotted into careers and status based on their magical abilities.
You guessed it, our heroine Ivy is a pariah among the high brow Oxford witch-crowd. She was expelled from the training school for ‘gasp’ cheating and assaulting a fellow student. Ivy shrugged and moved on. She slouches around as a taxi driver, lives with her contrary witch familiar cat, avoids her high energy over-achieving neighbor, and doing the bare minimum. That is until she is accidentally roped back into the same crowd that spurned her before.
This read like an Urban Fantasy Cozy Mystery mash up. There is a great world, plenty of quirky characters, light humor, and an engaging case for Ivy and Winter to solve. Nothing is too challenging though I did enjoy seeing Ivy and Winter figure themselves out better and each other. It was left with the big case solved, an amicable if a little regretful separation of the partners, and a to be continued note.
I experienced this one in audio format and absolutely adored narrator, Tanya Eby, in the role as Ivy and the rest of the cast’s voice. She was a great fit for the story and had good timing, pace, and tone. Only one niggle was that this story was set in Oxford with British characters and she didn’t do the accents. I’m pretty sure I’ll hear her voice for Ivy from here on since I was so drawn in by her storytelling.
All in all, this was an abso-fab start to a new series that I plan to continue with and a great outing with a new narrator and author. Light urban fantasy fans will find this one a treat and I daresay that cozy mystery fans who don’t mind paranormal elements will get a kick out of it, too.
My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #158 UF
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