Deadly Curiosities

Deadly Curiosities - Gail Z. Martin

[I got an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]


Hard to tell whether I liked it, or found it simply “OK”, so let’s consider this a 2.5 stars.


There are a lot of good ideas in this novel. About the magical community (the Alliance isn’t so big, the Family is likely to become a pain in the neck at some point). About the various kinds of magic, that I haven’t seen used that often in urban fantasy yet (weaving magic and psychometry, that is). About items and how they can become beacon of positive or negative energies. It goes to show that even the most inconspicuous little things can be harbingers of danger. And a store full of antiques, acting as cover for the magic folk to gather those special items and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands? Quaint and delightful—much like the town of Charleston, for which I could get quite a good feeling through the many little stories. (One of the secondary characters works in the historical archives. I tell you, you always need to know someone who works in a museum or something. Always.)


Another thing I liked was that, for once, there was no romance here. I don’t dislike romance, but sometimes I find there’s too much of it in UF in general, and it can more easily detract from the darkness and magic. Here, I didn’t want to read about a love story: I wanted to read about the antique shop, the mysterious items, Cassidy’s power, and so on. And this is what I got. So I was glad.


Unfortunately, this novel just didn’t click with me. I’m not even sure why exactly. I liked the ideas, the characters seemed interesting, but I never connected with them. I don’t think we get to see Sorren before the 30% mark, if I remember well, which I found too bad. As for the demon hunter,

it was kind of annoying that he was introduced so late into the story, then made to die; his death would’ve been more striking if I had got to know him better.

(show spoiler)

Yes, I’m a masochist. I know.


Regularly enough, I also found myself a little bored. It may have been because of the writing style: usually good when it came to descriptions of places, or to the stories passed around regarding the town and its inhabitants, but somewhat clunky in other parts. Examples would include repeated uses of the same first name in three consecutive short sentences, or some dialogue lines basically stating the same thing twice in a row. At first, I didn’t really notice it, but after a while, it started weighing down the narrative. The pace was perhaps a little too slow as well, though I can’t tell if this was because of the aforementioned style, or if it was just sluggish.


I’d place this novel among the ones that aren’t uninteresting, and could blossom into a good series; however, so far, I’m not really convinced.