Saturday, 11 May 2013

Review: How (Not) to Kiss a Toad

How (Not) to Kiss a Toad
How (Not) to Kiss a Toad by Elizabeth A. Reeves

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A playful chick-lit take on urban fantasy, like an updated Bewitched.

It needs a good going over by a proofreader to pick up the incompletely revised sentences, homonym errors and typos, including besought for besotted, Davie's for Davies', want too for want to, through for threw, and a misspelling of a character's name, but otherwise the language is competent, breezy and self-aware. Three and a half stars.

The characters are fun, clearly distinct, with their own verbal and behavioural tics and tags. Four stars, perhaps just a touch under because the main character doesn't solve her own problems.

That brings me to plot. I was pleased early on to get a very clear plot statement, in which the protagonist lists the problems she needs to solve and notes the time constraints. The problem, as I mentioned, is that it's not really her who solves any of them, at least not directly. She gets by with a lot of help from her friends (and family, and a random woman who's neither). The character is fun and appealing enough that I can forgive that, but I hope as the series progresses that she becomes more effective. The pressing problems with their deadlines kind of fizzle out, in the event. Three and a half stars for plot.

The setting is nothing special. Urban fantasy usually has a clear sense of place, and the book's Tucson does have that. The fantasy side pretty much consists of "the stories are true". It's a serviceable setting, but not outstandingly original. Three and a half stars again, I'd say.

Overall, I'm bumping it to four stars, because I did enjoy it for the fluff it is. Fun, light, sweet, like a well-made cupcake, really.

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