• Well Red

Need a new Urban Fantasy recommendation?

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Title: The Jezebel Series

Author: Deborah Wilde

Published: From 2019

Publisher: Te Da Media

Rating: ***

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Setting: Canada

Difficulty: Easy

Length: around 300 pages (each)

Series: The Jezebel Series (incomplete): Blood & Ash Death & Desire Shadows & Surrender

Always spoiler free

This is my first time reviewing an entire series. I finished ‘Shadows & Surrender’ this morning, and it’s one of those series that drifts more into my…guilty pleasure list. I’ve chosen to review the entire series because I’m not sure it warrants three separate reviews. When the next one comes out, I might be moved to review it in isolation.

Meet Ash. Ash is your standard badass PI. She’s having a particularly bad day as Vancouver’s only ‘mundane’ PI, and her day gets worse when she suddenly discovers she has magic. Fair warning, the author subtitles the series as ‘A Snarky Urban Fantasy Detective Series’.

So far, so standard. This something that the series never really gets past. This kind of plot has been done before, and while there are interesting flourishes (magic is from Judaism), most of the action and plot we’ve seen before, one way or another. The location was new to me as a reader, but Wilde chooses to mostly take you to a fictional place called Hedon rather than using the city as a character (something that the Forty Proof Series, for example, does well in my opinion). This seems like a lost opportunity.

The main character is also your standard troubled adult, with some serious abandonment issues courtesy of a father who left her when she was a young teen. The problem is her issues vastly outweigh her childhood trauma. Her mother is wealthy and successful, and by all accounts she’s had a pretty decent upbringing. This means angst feels a little unjustified and sometimes grating as Wilde spends a lot of times running through her issues and her thought process (which sometimes didn’t make sense to me as the reader). Hard to feel sympathetic to a character that can be annoying.

I enjoyed interactions between some of the characters – Ash is full of ‘snark’ (aka sarcasm) which I appreciate, and it does cause a chuckle. There are a range of characters who are interesting; Queen of Hearts for example starts as an intriguing character but dulls a little in the later books. The plot lines tend to run afoul of having too much plot (or side plots), and the third book’s plot is the worst (it feels like Wilde has just shoehorned the father in as a main player in a way that isn’t explained to my liking).

There is a love interest – but it’s remarkably staid. By the third book the biggest issue these two lovebirds face is their own emotional baggage (also a side issue where she’s supposed to hate him, for the benefit of her mother and his career but this seems…stupid when you think about it in more detail). Without another real love interest, it’s also pretty obvious where the plot is going.

I enjoyed the first book the most – it caught my interest and hooked me in. Look, the writing is fine (it doesn’t make me wince but isn’t going to win any awards), the action is fun and the main characters are fleshed out enough that you care what’s happening to them. It’s the kind of thing you pick up for a spot of easy reading if you enjoy the urban fantasy genre. It also clearly interested me enough to read three of the same series and probably pick up the fourth. Take that as you will.

Honestly the quote below sums up everything you really need to know about this series!

Well Red Reviews

Would I recommend this book? Eh, sure, if this sort of book is your thing.

Favourite quote(s)?

“From one blink to the next, the bloody smear on my finger morphed into a solid shaft about eight inches long with a bulbous end that I instinctively jabbed Levi back with.

‘Did you just-that’s-that’s a dildo,’ Levi stuttered. ‘You hit me with a magic dildo?’

We both stared at the offending item in my hand.

‘It’s a sword,’ I said.

‘It’s a fucking cock you conjured up,’ he growled.”

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