Saturday, January 9, 2021

ARC Review: The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry by C. M. Waggoner

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry

C. M. Waggoner
Publication: Ace (January 12, 2021)

Description: Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.

Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking  Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.

Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.

My Thoughts: This story takes place in the fictional city of Leiscourt and stars a young woman named Dellaria Wells. Delly is a fire witch, a con woman, and down and out. She needs money to make her rent when she sees an ad for Female Persons of Martial or Magical Ability to guard a Lady of Some Importance.

Getting hired on seems like a way out of her current financial difficulties. She becomes part of a crew consisting of two ladies with magical talent, a body scientist and her daughter Ermintrude who turns into a pig, and a high class girl who is part troll and is also skilled in martial arts. 

Delly takes one look at the crew and decides that Winn Cynallum, the part troll girl, is her ticket to future financial security and determines to seduce her. But her courtship is interrupted by someone actually attempting to murder the lady she's supposed to be guarding. She uses her magical ability to burn the spider-like creatures who stage numerous attacks. 

The bulk of the book concerns catching the villain and bringing her to justice. She is joined by the rest of the guards since, while the villain missed killing the lady, the villain did kill Ermintrude. Delly is mostly concerned with the reward that has been offered for bringing the villain to justice. She needs the money to help her mother get off the use of the latest drug of choice - red drip. Unfortunately, in order to track down the villain they have to turn into producers of red drip themselves because the villain is an addict and involved with the production of the drug.

Despite the ample use of dialect (which I hate), I enjoyed this story which was part mystery and part romance and featured an interesting main character and the girl who falls in love with her and helps her become her best self. I liked the various kinds of magic in the story and the general world building.

Favorite Quote:
It was the sort of book that was fill of sentences that started off with a lady, took the measure of her eyes, tramped across her bosom, and stopped by a scenic viewpoint over her plump arms, before ranging town along the bank of a long rushing stream of discussion on the Moral Character of Woman, in general, until you'd forgotten the name of the lady in question and had to shove your way through dense thickets of grammatical undergrowth to find it again.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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