ARC Review: Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) – Gail Z. Martin

18775220eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for fair review.

Summary:

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up

Review:

When I first started reading this book, I had a funny reaction to it: I honestly thought that I had picked up a sequel. Not too far in there was a reference to Teag recently learning that he was a Weaver. We got the explanation of what a Weaver was but not the backstory. It confused me; Urban Fantasy tropes told me that we should have seen him make this discovery. This feeling that I was reading something deeper into  series than I was was further enhanced by the fact that Martin didn’t seem to spend a lot of time on letting us get to know Cassidy: most of the first quarter of the book are focused on the histories of various objects. She does eventually get some development, but I never lost that feeling that I should already know her.

Then I found my answer.

At the very end of the book came an author’s note, inviting the reader to check out the short stories from the same universe. From what I can tell, there are at least ten of them. TEN. Yeah, they may be only 30-40 pages each, but put those together, and you have a long novella/short novel. In other words, you have enough written that if I had to bet, I bet I’d find the missing character development in those pages. I say this because the character that felt the most developed was the one introduced at the very end of the story.

It’s a shame too; the story, when it finally got going, was pretty well done. The concept isn’t entirely unique in UF, but it’s done pretty well. I’d say my biggest gripe is perhaps an over-reliance on the stories of things. The visions of the past didn’t tend to grab me, and often didn’t add enough to the main plot to feel like they were vital. It’s not something that breaks the story, because they do tie in seamlessly and are written in the same style as the rest of the book. It’s a your mileage may vary situation.

Overall, I’d say this book is okay, but it could have been better. Would I give it another chance? Eh. Maybe.  All the short stories are $.99 a piece. I wouldn’t mind seeing a collection of them for say $5 bucks. At that price, I’d certainly give them a second look. I just wasn’t enchanted enough to pay $0.99 per, especially since the stories themselves are almost always shorter than the advertised page lengths.

If you like Urban Fantasy, you may enjoy this, but it wouldn’t be my first recommendation.

Verdict: Borrow It.

Available: June 24th

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: Deadly Curiosities (Deadly Curiosities #1) – Gail Z. Martin

    • I don’t know about that. I wonder if she wrote these, and that’s what eventually earned her the contract for the book? Very few authors publish novellas set in their world, let alone ten and I can’t see a pub letting that many go out ahead of a book release.

      • It’s not uncommon for writers to release short stories to boost the world of their stories, help raise awareness, give readers small tastes, etc. But this is the first case I’ve read of one so heavily tied into the main story. Normally they’re just interesting back stories of minor characters, events, etc. And as you said, I’ve never seen a case where so many were released BEFORE a book was published.

      • I don’t think their directly tied, but my hunch is that she wrote them long enough before this book that she simply forgot that she’d get a lot of readers who hadn’t read them. I did some reading on Good Reads and found another review that also said it felt like a sequel, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out once it hits the shelves.

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