Thursday, March 05, 2015

Review: A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark



A Key, an Egg, an Unfortunate Remark by Harry Connolly

Purchased this on Tuesday and finished it last night, which is pretty fast for me these days.  I have other books with markers in them (I always have books with markers in them) but this one pushed to the head of the line as soon as I read through the first chapter.

I am also going to be super paranoid as I type this, because I'm going to make mention of typos and formatting problems, which means a Karma Boomerang could be heading for me at this very moment.  I've already caught myself typing "eff" instead of "egg" three times now.

There are tropes in paranormal mystery books -- kick-ass main characters (if female, she's sexy enough that at least 3 of every 5 guys she meets wants to sleep with her), a settled magic system, and the main character gets beat up at least once.  Secondary characters require rescuing or, if the author is going against trope, rescue the main character.  Bad guys are destroyed in the end, but (in a series) some sort of darkness will follow the main character until the next book, upping the stakes each time.

Connolly pretty much looked at the tropes and said "Fuck that noise".  This time, there's little to no kick-assery, magic is the vague and hard-to-wrap-your-head-around thing I've always suspected it to be, and the lead character is a little old lady (but not Miss Marple).  Marly Jacobs  (maybe I'm attached to her because we share an initial and a name?) is trying to keep things peaceful in Seattle, trying to get all the magical folk living along the non-magical in acceptable ways.  Connolly managed to create this by showing, not telling (remember when the teacher told you about that in creative writing?) and building up the explanations a little at a time while things are going on.  Best of all, I didn't have a clue as to the actual bad guy until the reveal (loved the "clue").  Oh, and a nice Godzilla/Pacific Rim Monster Stomp to spice it all up.

I enjoy a good Monster Stomp.  Extra Points for that.

I read this in the B&N Nook e-book version, and there were technical problems -- small ones, but when I hit them, I had to stop, look it over, and then re-enter the book.  Typos I can handle -- I don't like them, and I bemoan the economic reasons that have removed proofreaders from the editing path (even the best copy editor can miss things).  A few moments of questionable editing, like an empty room that, in the next sentence, was full of furniture, and some problems with confusing dialog attribution, made me stop and thing "WTF?"  However, the story and the characters were strong enough that I could take a breath and keep going.  I have run into such in weaker books and just stopped reading.

Best of all, this is set up nicely for a series I would read as the books come out.  I liked the characters, the world, and the premise.  I want more.  Hell, I'll even offer to proofread just so I can get the book first (haha, not joking at all).

I now await the Boomerang.


***
Book Riot challenge met: a book published this year

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