As part of my plan to review two Witch Lit or Fantasy books each month, I selected A Devil of a Time (A Witch in Time Book 2) by Mona Marple for January. The series is co-written by several authors but it seems to be something you can read as a standalone as well.
There aren't any rules as to how much magic should be in a Witch Lit style book, but for me, I like to see it as a key part of the story. Felicity (Flick), mentions her witch lineage and makes references to how it impacts her life, but there isn't much magic happening, at least initially. She has a peculiar skill of being able to tell when someone is lying (isn't that handy!), but beyond that, she doesn't practice much in the way of magic. As a reader, I wanted to see more.
On the plus side, it is a quick and light read for readers who want to jump into a fantasy world right away without a lot of set up or world-building. The premise of the story is cute - a witch without means needs a job and becomes a time traveler who investigates cold cases. This book would be perfect for someone who wants a lunchtime read - something they can jump into (and out of) easily. The character of Newgate was cute, and probably my favorite - but then who doesn't love a ghost dog.
For me, there were a couple of cons as well. I never quite believed the heroine was British. I also found the use of a character name of "Johnny Rotten" jarring because it made me think it was actually tying into the whole "Sid and Nancy" story from the punk days of the Sex Pistols. The first part of the story felt a bit rushed, although perhaps the intent was to keep it a short read so I can see where pages can't be spared on detailed world-building. I was hoping to get hooked with a solid understanding of the rules around magic in the story and that didn't happen.
I rate it as 3.5 stars - a fun and light read if you need something to dip into for short periods of time. The time travel year of 1999 was fun to visit and remember. I may check out the other stories in the series to see how the overall premise works across the novels. #kareads #witchlit