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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

Second half is better than the first one

Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs) - Sam Argent

Odd Jobs: Book One All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks. Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.

Review:

Dear Sam Argent,

I am always on the lookout for the SFF books with gay romance in it and I had fond memories of your first book (as far as I am aware of – I could be wrong of course, maybe it was not your first book) “Family of Lies: Sebastian”. So I did not have to think for a long time before clicking on this one because it sounded right up my alley. The blurb promised an agency of magical misfits doing odd jobs and the main character who seemed to go through life trying to avoid more magical catastrophes that followed him from his past.

Unfortunately I ended up being not nearly as happy with this book as I expected to be. In fact for the first thirty five or so percent of the story on my kindle I contemplated abandoning the book not once but several times. Why you would ask? Because I was in turn confused and irritated while reading it and I was only getting more irritated as the plot moved along.

First and foremost I have to say that I definitely prefer when the writer is doing what the author here *tried* to do – threw me in the middle of things going on and let me figure out what is actually going on and what kind of fictional world I am in. I do not need a lot of info dumps and I do not want the writer to always lead me by hand and make sure I swallowed every tiny piece of information. I like being able to figure out things by myself. But you know what? Sometimes I need some information why the character is in turn behaving a complete idiot or being a jerk to his coworkers over and over again.

I guess I did not feel like I was picking up tantalizing clues of what is to come soon or what happened in the past, instead I felt like I was witnessing weird behavior for no reason at all. Or I should say the reason was being conceived from me but I was not curious to find out what was being conceived, instead I was steadily losing patience with Jeremy and his annoying ways.

I should probably give you an example of his behavior since it is irritated me so. How about him being a jerk to his Boss, how about him being a jerk to his coworkers even though it is pretty clear that banter notwithstanding people around him like him and want him there and do not want him dead. I just did not get it.

Then we get Jeremy repeatedly feeling guilty about his lies – without any explanation of why is he lying and what is he lying about. As I said, I just did not feel the reveal was well paced at all and the characterization suffered because of that.

Then at about thirty five or so percent of the story the first surprise is revealed. Apparently Jeremy has a secret love interest with whom according to Jeremy they are “just fucking”. Even though it is very quickly revealed that of course they are not “just fucking” – the love interest made a real sacrifice, one may even argue that he made a repeated sacrifice in order to keep Jeremy safe and I think it is very clear that he is deeply in love with Jeremy and Jeremy is in love with him.

So when I observe to what length the other guy was willing to go to insure Jeremy’s safety, I was trying to understand why Jeremy was constantly being a dick to him when they were not having sex.

I just did not buy Jeremy’s sniping at his guy – much more than I did not buy him being like that with his coworkers. The other guy just did nothing whatsoever to deserve that and I am not saying that Jeremy could not have been like that because of his own issues, but if that’s what it was the narrative did not make it clear to me. And those readers who read my reviews in the past may remember that I am a big fan of any variety of “from enemies to lovers” trope if it is executed well. I do not think them being at each other’s throats was well executed.

All secrets are revealed of course – well, all secrets about Jeremy (at least I hope so), I still have plenty of questions in my head about his Boss and coworkers and this world in general.

If you could stick around for the first fifty percent of the book, I liked the second one better, but make no mistake reading the first part was an exercise in frustration and the frustration did not completely go away in the second part.  Jeremy's reasons for lying and being aggressive were revealed, but the problem for me was that I did not completely buy into them. The author did manage to make me like Jeremy and the other guy at the end, sort of, so the grade is what you see.

 

Grade: C+/B-