Have you ever found an author who just understood you? Like you know, in the marrow of your bones, that they were probably the coolest person ever because whatever they wrote spoke to you? That they pepper references to things you love in their work? Their humor never fails to elicit a chuckle–not that weak, snorting-air-through-your-noise nonsense, but deep, real laughter? And their characters struggle with problems that just make them so darn relatable?
Enter: Annette Marie.
This woman could write city codes and I’d be riveted. And believe me, as a former editor for city ordinances, I know what I’m saying.
She strikes again with Three Mages and a Margarita, Book One in her The Guild Codex: Spellbound series.
Magic? Check. Spunky, no-nonsense, tough-as-nails heroine? Check. Literary candy? Giant check.
Main character Tori isn’t afraid to call it like she sees it–which might not be a problem, except the patrons and managers at the string of restaurants she’s worked at before don’t exactly approve of being called out on their crap. Desperate, she answers the add to be a bartender at an unusual bar, surprised to find that they not only tolerate her blunt, take-no-crap attitude, they love it. She’s given the job, if she wants it.
The catch? This isn’t a normal bar.
It’s a guild hall. For mages.
And she’s the magicless human who just signed on to serve alcohol to a misfit group of people who could probably set her on fire with a pinky finger.
Marie’s writing indulges every nerd inclination I have. She’s not just writing for nerds, but through her writing, you know she unequivocally is one. And she’s waving her nerd flag proudly, weaving references and allusions to some of nerdom’s most prolific stories seamlessly into her prose.
But what really strikes me about Marie’s writing are her characters. She creates such viscerally stunning people, even with her secondary and tertiary players. They feel real, like I could walk down the street and bump shoulders with them. They respond as normal people would, possess the same insecurities and goals as we do, and struggle like us mere mortals. The fact that Marie can create such living, breathing, real people with nothing more than pen and paper speaks of her writing chops.
I don’t want to give away too much about the story–I’d much rather you take a gander yourself. But Annette Marie delivers with another start to a book series I won’t be able to put down (Red Winter was started and finished in the space of two days, ladies and gentlemen).
So, if I had to give this book a rating, I’d go with a stunning 4.5 out of 5 stars.