*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
I’ve been picky about what new snarky, action-packed type of urban fantasy books I’ll read ever since I got kind of burnt out on those, but I’m glad I decided to try this one since it ended up being great, and now I have a new series to look forward to continuing!
Things I Liked:
– I knew from the very first page that this was gonna be my kinda book. The main character, Jonah, was a mess. He had a serious drinking problem. He conned people with fake seances and other similar services. He even stole things from the houses of the people who hired him. He was completely unlikeable, and yet, that was exactly what made him likeable because I happen to love seriously flawed characters when they’re written well, which he was (his voice was well-written too). And then he’d go and do something nice or I’d find out about something good he did, and gah, I just couldn’t help but root for the guy. I mean, I still didn’t really like him as a person because he was still a jerk sometimes, but when he made bad decisions or reached for a bottle, more than anything, I felt sympathy for him, for the things that led to him being in such a bad place. And I felt terrible about all the beatings he got throughout the book because he definitely did not deserve that.
– Jonah’s alcoholism was a topic that was handled well. It wasn’t just glossed over; it caused him to make bad decisions, it took a toll on his body, and people were worried about him and wanted him to get help.
– Jonah’s physical disability was handled well too. He had a bad leg from a broken femur and used a cane, and it obviously didn’t stop him from doing things, but it was a part of him, sometimes causing him pain, sometimes causing him to have trouble balancing, sometimes making things more difficult, etc.
– In fact, all the serious things were handled well. There was something that happened about halfway through the book that was… really bad. Intense. I almost felt like crying while I was reading it because it was written in a way that made me feel the gravity of the situation and made me feel horrible for Jonah. And then when more bad things happened, they were given the gravity they deserved too.
– This book was also funny at times because Jonah was somewhat sarcastic and snarky. Sometimes it was mean, but sometimes it was just funny without being mean.
– There was a touching family element. Jonah’s father was not perfect, but he loved Jonah and was worried about him and would do anything to help him. I actually shed a tear after the intense thing when things got all emotional during a father-son moment. I also teared up again when I read the very last line because of more father-son feels.
– I think this was the first time I had ever read about a main character who was a shaman, and I don’t know much about shamans, so I can’t say much about how that was portrayed, but I liked the explanations we got for the magical/spiritual things and thought it was all really interesting, especially the stuff about how belief and religion can create or alter or give power to things.
Things I Disliked:
– I was a little confused at the end. I’m not sure exactly what happened, and then Jonah had a conversation that supposedly revealed some things to him, but it just kinda lost me. I still don’t understand what part all the characters played. Maybe this will be cleared up in the next book since there’s clearly an overarching plot in addition to the individual book plot.
– Jonah sometimes made bad decisions due to his alcoholism and his life, and that I had no problem with, but his complete lack of plan sometimes didn’t really make sense.
Other Things Worth Noting:
– This book had some pretty graphic violence.
– A potential future romance was hinted at since Jonah was interested in someone, but this book didn’t have any romance.
So overall, this was a great start to a new urban fantasy series that managed to stand out in a genre that has felt repetitive to me lately, the protagonist was flawed but well-written, and the story was intense!
Anyone who likes urban fantasy, seriously flawed characters, father-son relationships, and interesting supernatural stuff.