📚 Slouch Witch by Helen Harper

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The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic #1

Goodreads⎮Reviewed Oct. 2017

Narrator: Tanya Eby

Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
Publisher: Tantor Audio⎮2017

Synopsis: Let’s get one thing straight – Ivy Wilde is not a heroine. In fact, she’s probably the last witch in the world who you’d call if you needed a magical helping hand, regardless of her actual abilities. If it were down to Ivy, she’d spend all day every day on her sofa where she could watch TV, munch junk food and talk to her feline familiar to her heart’s content.

However, when a bureaucratic disaster ends up with Ivy as the victim of a case of mistaken identity, she’s yanked very unwillingly into Arcane Branch, the investigative department of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Her problems are quadrupled when a valuable object is stolen right from under the Order’s noses. It doesn’t exactly help that she’s been magically bound to Adeptus Exemptus Raphael Winter. He might have piercing sapphire eyes and a body which a cover model would be proud of but, as far as Ivy’s concerned, he’s a walking advertisement for the joyless perils of too much witch-work.

And if he makes her go to the gym again, she’s definitely going to turn him into a frog.

4.25 ★ AudiobookSlouch Witch was delightfully “spoopy”, fitting for an early October listen. Most of the titles I hear leading up to Halloween are designed to get me in a spooky mood, but Slouch Witch had a more whimsical effect.

Ivy Wilde was refreshing as a protagonist and terribly relatable. I hesitate to call her a heroine, because saving the day was the last thing she wanted to do. What made her so refreshing was that, despite her adeptness with magic and technical skill, Ivy was rather lazy. She’s like a high school student who has great potential but doesn’t “apply herself”. But Ivy had no interest in applying herself to anything.

She wasn’t fit, hated exercise, and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. In other words, she’s the perfect “anti-hero”. I can’t recall ever reading about another main character like Ivy and that was precisely what endeared her to me. Even when thrown into the middle of a situation, Ivy was reluctant to come to the rescue. As I learned more about her past, her current nature began to make more sense.

Slouch Witch had a unique romantic angle too. I loved how Helen Harper approached the romance in a way that felt true to Ivy’s personality. It wouldn’t have made sense for Ivy to go all “goo-goo-eyed” and fall head over heels for someone. That’s just not her style. The tension was built up perfectly throughout the story. Even its culmination was perfectly imperfect.

The mystery was the weaker point in Slouch Witch for me. I didn’t care as much about it as I did about the characters involved. I think a little more world building, especially regarding The Order, would have gone a long way in helping the pieces of the puzzle click into place. The character development was excellent, but the world building was only so-so and the mystery suffered as a result.

But given that this installment’s mystery was solved, I’m expecting a brand-new one in the next installment. It won’t be something that I pick up right away, but I do plan on continuing with this series at some point. Slouch Witch was fun and light hearted, without being overly simplistic or ridiculous. The writing was reminiscent of a cozy mystery, but with a more complex and sophisticated setting. Helen Harper is now on my radar and I’ve already earmarked two of her other series for future listening.

Narration review: Tanya Eby provided a pleasant listening experience. This was my first time hearing her perform, but it certainly won’t be my last. I enjoyed the appropriately whimsical nature of her narration. She provided each character with distinct voicing, true to their respective personalities.

However, I’m still wondering why the performance wasn’t given more of a British flair, considering it’s urban London setting. There seemed to have been a disconnect between the writing and Eby’s interpretation of the writing. Alone, the writing came off as very British, even using British slang, which helped enhance the story’s atmosphere. But Eby voiced Ivy and a few others with an American accent, without any basis. This disconnect wasn’t damaging to my listening experience, but it did have me scratching my head for a while. ♣︎

$ Available at Audiobooks.com and Audible/Amazon

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