This story was enjoyable. I like magic and a good mystery and this one had a nice balance to it. I dropped into this story not realising it was the third in a series. It does say so in the book as well as on the cover so if you’re more observant than me you’ll know. However, as I expect from a good mystery series, even with all the connecting previous backstories you did not need any of it for this story to work. It’s its own separate entity and just the right amount of the characters’ descriptions and what they bring from the previous books is hinted at for it to make sense, piece together some things and even be intrigued about the things you couldn’t figure out but didn’t need for this instalment.
The only thing I’d say is not knowing the age of the main characters made some things difficult. Like the flower shop owner Oliver, thorn, and Bella all went to school together and are all graduated and two of them own their own business already, established businesses not new. My brain is already committing to say four or five years post high school and then maybe another two too for a business to be new but not really new so we are talking 24. 25 at best. I dunno but there’s just something about the way this is written that makes me assume they’ve been at this for years and are either almost thirty or just over thirty but when I factor in my guestimation of how old Selena is based on the bits of her backstory dropped, everyone comes back down to early twenties. I dunno maybe I’m overthinking it but I assumed Oliver was older but then Thorn said he went to school with him and then I assumed Bella was older but she went to school with Oliver. And this is all after high school so college. Assuming they did a good two to four years of that they’d already be 22 and then started a business. I guess they could all be 25ish but based on how they are written it just felt like they were all much older. Maybe I’m just anal about age but I like to know how old my characters are so I can make guestimations on their characters based on what they have accomplished and how they act/behave and if the author has set them up to be believable for those actions.
My next thing was the pace the side romance went at was perfect. Selena is old enough I’m assuming to be able to date and take things slow simultaneously. You don’t have to choose and her constant thinking about not wanting it to be more didn’t hold much weight because when you remove this whole early plot bit her relationship with Thorn was legit perfect. It felt like It was supposed to be dragged or slow burn and angsty in some sort of way but not even Selena was committed so it fell flat in more ways than one.
Book loses zero stars for this but why is everyone in robes all the time? I mean if they aren’t in school and required to for uniforms it’s like why put on a robe over your normal clothes? Just something I was odded out by. In a world with the internet surely wizards and witches dress casually unless required to for school or a court case or something.
The plot flowed perfectly. The characters were engaging, there were even a few good laughs. The only real problem was the reason that was used for the misdirection of the actual killer was too heavy-handed for me. Almost as if the author was trying to force me to think it could never be them too aggressively. Instead of letting my subconscious do that on its own with a little less prodding it had the opposite effect so it was obvious who it was.
Basically, if warm, cosy, not too intense splashed with humour and a side of romance is your thing, this book delivers. Even with the few flaws, it was a genuinely enjoyable mystery of a series I’d definitely recommend digging into.