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The Gambler Grimoire: An Urban Fantasy Mystery (Wicklow College of Arcane Arts Book 1) Kindle Edition
But Savanna discovered a possible connection with the murder of a broker of rare arcane books. Were there really spells that could change your luck? When her own life is threatened, and the murders begin to pile up, she knows she can’t leave the mystery unsolved.
An urban fantasy mystery to delight those who enjoy both genres.
- ASIN : B09BNYFFRY
- Publication date : August 22, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 4246 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 186 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,736 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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First, the book starts oddly. We have a brand new main character (MC) to learn about, and she's a 40-ish professor just starting a new job at an arcane university. She immediately sticks her nose into the months-old murder investigation of her predecessor. In other words, she is - from what anyone can tell for 157 pages - a busybody. She involves all sorts of people in her investigation; you'd think they'd tell her to mind her own business.
At page 157 (the story has 184 pages) we find out why the MC is so interested. Yes, it takes the author most of the book before she explains about the organization the MC used to belong to, which pretty much justifies her prior actions.
Then we have all of the background noise. This is a murder mystery, so there are always distractions. Unfortunately, they're not well done. In particular, there are constant distractions about the university librarian - most of which have no bearing on the story and are never resolved. There are also a couple "handsome" fellas mentioned, but none of that is acted upon - and I mean NONE. They're just brought out as cannon fodder to burn some pages. There's a lot of disconnect, a lot of conversation that seems fairly pointless - even after we know who the culprit is.
If you want to know how poorly I connected with this book, I can tell you that I've forgotten most of the climax, in which all of the necessary parties are revealed - and I finished the book about seven hours ago.
Did I mention how short this book is? It goes to location 2866 (184 pages). In contrast, Soul Harvest - the most recent Rift Wars book - goes to 3847.
Three stars because I like the author, and because she's obviously working on her grammar.
My main issue was around the characters. Several times Samantha, the MC, was told that x, a person she’d befriended, had a reason to dislike the victim or was a gossip, say, and yet Samantha still kept telling details of her investigation. She behaved as though she’d never heard a thing about it. I don’t get that. If Samantha had investigated what she was told and decided it wasn’t true or had no bearing on the case, then fine, that works. But to simply ignore it?
Especially as she was handing out information about the case right, left and center. When we’re told halfway through the book that when she was younger, she’d been an investigator for the Witch Council, I was surprised she was so trusting, though it did explain her criticisms of the police investigation, and how she knew the procedures that should be followed.
So on the one hand, really liked the character and expertise of the MC (though neither fit the ‘sexy witch on a broom’ chapter illustrations)/ didn’t like the inconsistencies that occasionally cropped up. Another example of that is the divide between Samantha’s claim that her sex life is nonexistent because ‘men think I’m cold’ vs. her scoping out which men might be available and having no trouble flirting. I wonder if the issue might be that the publisher or editor wanted a sexy witch investigator type and Ms. Kingsolver was writing someone more intellectual and less hormonal than that? Anyway, the plot was well done and I def will keep reading these, though I am hoping that Samantha’s character gets sorted out.
Wondering why, the curious professor starts to ask some questions, and more bodies start to appear…
This is an academy urban fantasy with a twist… the heroine is a little older than most university students, and is actually one of the teachers.
The book reminded me a lot of Inspector Morse… (British mystery set in the University town of Oxford). It had the mysterious murder, sleazy college faculty members (and some not so sleazy), and a determined sleuth.
Savannah is a bit of a mystery herself. The past twenty years or so were spent in California, while prior to that, she has somewhat of an intriguing set of adventures, only vaguely alluded to.
Her father is important in the magical world (though we only really find out just how, towards the end of the book).
It’s an entertaining read, setting up a new and rather exciting world for the reader… my only complaint is that I would have loved a longer story (I was enjoying this fascinating new world and its new characters).
If you’ve enjoyed previous books by the authors, or like to read a book with a mature heroine (Paranormal Women’s Fiction) then this is a great book for you!
I would recommend this to those who read mystery, urban fantasy, and/or alternate reality. It was a nice combination of several genres.
Many characters appeared or were mentioned throughout the story. Most were briefly introduced, especially the ones that interacted with the main character, becoming her core group for this story.
Many more were mentioned, making it hard to keep track of relationships, jobs, backgrounds, their roles in the story, etc. I'll have to reread as I missed some of the clues relating to the murderer(s), no spoilers.
Main character, Savanna, was the most fleshed out, with some of her background and connections coming to light as the story progressed.
Not quite a 5, more like a 4 to 4.5. Toward the end several chapters seemed to finish abruptly, causing me to page both forward and back to make sure I hadn't skipped a page or two.
Looking forward to the next book.
cross posted goodreads, amazon, bookbub
Top reviews from other countries
Dr Savanna Robinson is a professor of apothecary and alchemy and newly hired at the prestigious Wicklow College of Arcane Arts near Pittsburg. What she didn’t realise is that the man who once held the position she has been hired for was murdered. In the five months since his death the police don’t seem to have been making much headway in the investigation. Savanna’s curiosity is piqued and she decides to look into what happened to her predecessor. When she uncovers some papers that the police never saw, she realises that the murder may be connected to a rare book purported to contained spells that can change your luck.
There is much to enjoy in this book, with it’s wonderful world-building and intelligent and interesting main character. Savanna is the daughter of a Councilman (a very important person) and she’s in her 40s. She has a sharp intellect and relishes the shaping of lively minds. She has a dry wit and enjoys matching those wits against others. She’s magically talented as well as intellectually but she keeps that a bit more under wraps. She’s sociable and enjoys the company of men though romance isn’t a priority.
This is an interesting world in which Savanna has been placed. It feels like British Academia rather than US, with it’s formalities and old and beautiful buildings created to emulate Oxford University. It’s rather staid and filled with older men on the faculty. We also get to see a little of the town as Savanna goes on explorations into the world outside the campus. As always with this author you can visualise clearly the surroundings and structure of society with a few paragraphs scattered throughout the book, from Savanna’s dark apartment to the beautiful herb garden and green houses just outside.
The murder mystery was interesting but I felt like the solution to the mystery was handed to her on a plate a little bit. The rest of the resolution was pieced together because of the information handed to her and her good contacts. It felt a little bit cheaty.
Despite the resolution being a little disappointing I still really enjoyed the book as a whole. The world, the characters and the plot were fun and absorbing. I’m glad that this is the start of a series as I believe this character deserves more chances to shine. Dr Savanna Robinson is a force to be reckoned with.
Very complicated and convoluted plot in world very like ours, but where magic is almost another science.
The plot was interesting but a bit difficult to follow.
There are a couple of places where a resource needed to solve parts of the mystery comes out of nowhere which is why I dropped it to 4 stars.