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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Spellman Files: A Novel (Izzy Spellman Book 1) by Lisa Lutz

A few people who knew I liked the Stephanie Plum series recommended this series to me.

After reading the first book I'm willing to give the second book a chance, but I'm not fully convinced just yet. I liked it, I didn't love it.

Isabel (Izzy) Spellman is a 28 year old woman who is still growing up. She led a very wild childhood and young adulthood (as in drugs and indiscriminate sex and various irresponsible behaviors). We learn the things that happened to make her stop doing things that made other people have to clean up the messes left in the wake of her irresponsible behavior. It didn't completely change her, but it did make her think twice before creating messes that affected other people. So, a little growing up happened there.

Izzy is a PI, as are her parents. She started as a child and was doing surveillance before she could drive. Her little sister was doing surveillance before she could read. This is a family with deadbolts on bedroom doors because, since they are all professional snoops, they don't trust anyone. Not even family.

The family is... functionally dysfunctional? Maybe dysfunctional is too strong of a word. We'll just say they love each other, but they are not normal.

Does it compare to Stephanie Plum? In some ways, probably. Izzy has lots of problems, just as Stephanie does. Izzy's family loves her even if they bug the bejeebers out of her, also similar to Stephanie even if they bug her for different reasons. There were a few laugh out loud moments in The Spellman Files, but I wouldn't compare them to the laugh out loud moments in the Plum series. Izzy is a PI to Stephanie's bounter hunter job, also similar enough.

After one book I probably shouldn't comment on relationship stuff, but I'll say that Izzy and Stephanie's idea of what is and isn't acceptable in a relationship are worlds apart.

I'll give The Spellman Files a 7 of 10, though the decision was whether to give it a 6 or a 7. Part of that is the annoyance I felt at the writing style during the first third or maybe half of the book. It felt more like a history lesson than a novel, and I wasn't sure where she was going with things. Having finished it, I liked it good enough to give the next book a try. We know everyone's history, so the next book shouldn't feel like a history lesson. I won't rate the series until I've read the second book.

Book Rating: 7 of 10

1. The Spellman Files: A Novel (2007)
2. Curse of the Spellmans: A Novel (2008)
3. Revenge of the Spellmans: A Novel (Mar 10, 2009)

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