For such a small book (it’s actually one of those stupid e novellas) The Sister’s Grimoire by Suza Kates really was quite a big disaster. I had been working on trying to get through this for a number of months. And for something that should have been done in an afternoon that’s saying something. The problem is a lack of development. It is so lacking, that I was surprised to learn this author has written a number of other books. I expected to discover that this was a new author. But, apparently, the curse of the e-book strikes again.
I’m guessing this is a prequel to a series. On the author’s website this is listed under the title series. But is is the only book listed. I am just going to assume, however, that there is more to come since you know, the word series indicated more than one….
The premise itself is fairly generic. Three sisters (Tate, Fiona and Sami) all of a sudden discover that they have magical powers. They discover they have powers because one night they get a visitor from “a servant of the dea matrona” and their grandfather owes a debt to Emuirdane. Why? Not developed. What exactly must the girls do to repay the debt? Not developed. The girls are given three days to figure out their powers and blah blah blah. Why three days? Not developed. Why the bad guys are after them, what they really can do with their powers, who the heck Hellena and Emuirdane (and what) are? Not developed. We are really only introduced to each of the girls and without a lot of background history (can’t get to much background in a book that’s barely over 100 pages long) they are off finding powers and a spell book and all sorts of things.
Unfortunately, in an attempt to provide this prologue of a book, confusion found a foothold. It was really hard to read that the girls one night had to run out of the house, Grandpa doesn’t have time to tell them anything – they just need to follow their instincts – and then they find the book and then Grandpa has time to explain just enough to let the girls know they need to go shopping for magical items. And then, they attempt to learn about their powers and all of a sudden everything falls in place for them and within three days they’ve mastered everything. I spend a lot of time scratching my head. Bottom line – it all just felt fairly haphazard.
I am not sure enough time was spend by the author on this one. When I came across a glaring gap in the narration style (another one of those reasons why I expected to learn this was the first time author) I was really shocked. The story is told in third person almost all of the book, when out of the blue there is a sudden and stray random line written in first person. Can’t figure out what that was all about – poor editing?
There were a few lines that pulled me right out of the book. I hate it when that happens. And in this case, the line “The Source” and the follow-up “The letter told us we had to free the source” cause me to think of first Point Break (“surfing’s the source man… swear to God”) and then 2 sentences later I was thinking of Cole and Phoebe and Charmed. Neither distraction is a good sign. To have those stray and random thoughts enter my head while reading was proof that this book just didn’t grab my attention well enough to hold it.
Finally, a pet peeve. “Magick” was annoying to read constantly. I really would have preferred to read it the way it is spelled in English. I don’t like it when authors don’t just use the normal English spellings for words (and I am not picky – British English or American English is fine; I just want ENGLISH!!!). Or when they create their own slang. Or text speak on. It’s annoying and should, frankly, be embarrassing for the author to not just write better. The occasional dip into that, fine. Slang expressions which are in use, fine. But intentional misspellings to do this, NOT FINE. And when the author just let the characters sound like idiots because he/she thinks it’s cool to use extra “z”s and thinks he/she is superior for using foreign language (and not translating or not using it consistently or writing the accents), well, it’s NOT FINE. Ok. Rant over.
If this really was just the prequel to the series, despite the issues, I expect that I will give at least the first book a chance. Since this seems to be the set-up for the first full length novel and I expect (hope) that the book will spend much more time developing what was missing here – and I assume that the editing issues will be corrected. After all, despite my reluctance to admit it, I really did enjoy the Charmed TV series and this book felt a lot like that (even has a Charmed fan-fiction thing going, not to mention the aforementioned source references). But I hope that we see some improvements with things mentioned.