2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.
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Book Review: Madison Mosby and the Rose Widow

I really enjoyed this one – despite an abundance of typos (mostly spelling or homonyms, but also a lot of extra/missing commas) and a slightly unlikely arc for the protagonist. Madison Mosby is a fantastic character – her snark and blatant disregard for every societal norm jump off the page from the opening lines and make for some fantastic and hilarious sequences. I loved that – she’s a take-no-prisoners character, and her wry acceptance of her crap life (which she has, self-admittedly, brought on herself) is refreshing and self-deprecating and fun(ny) to read. Until all of a sudden it isn’t, and it becomes overwhelmingly “woe is me” and the recitation of horrible drunken escapades and regrets starts weighing the story down…

Frankly, the story could use a strong edit in that regard. It’s one thing to have a screw-up character make good – that’s a common enough story arc but it works (most of the time). But this time it felt like the screwing up just kept dragging on and on, and it slowed the narrative pacing quite a bit. Particularly when blended with the Finale/mercenaries chapters, which I understand are necessary to set the stage but which trudge along a bit in the beginning. It wasn’t until the connection between the Finale and magic is solidified in the prison sequence that the Finale-focused chapters started to really engage me. From then on, the back-and-forth felt much smoother and more involved and the story read a lot more consistently for me.

The overall story is a cool one, full of original concepts and a novel slant on magic and how it enters/leaves the world. Madison is surrounded by some very interesting side characters – particularly Langston and (surprise of all surprises) Sarah, who actually turned out to be one of my favorites by the end. The development of those two proceeded really well I think, with tidbits being teased out throughout the course of the book. Madison herself eventually gets over herself and comes into her own, but does so rather abruptly in a manner that required me to suspend disbelief rather a lot. She’s a drunken mess for the majority of the book, then suddenly – WHAM! – she’s a bad-ass who stops drinking almost instantly and pulls rabbits out of her hat time and again to defeat the bad guys. It was a sea change that didn’t ring entirely true – although the new and improved Madison was so cool that I kind of sort of didn’t mind.

This is a series with great potential. The characters and plot are engaging, interesting, and – most importantly – feel original and fresh. With a bit of editing, I think this could really be a hit… I’m definitely in for book two!

My review copy was provided by Reedsy Discovery. It’s a new and very cool service that offers publishing, editing, and review options to indie authors. Check them out!

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