Reviews,  SJardine

Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher : Review


On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive.

I feel like it’s become fairly common  to address this aspect when  discussing  this book,  yet I feel like I have to be honest in this review by recognizing that my interesting in reading this book was primarily driven by my admiration of Jim Butcher. I felt like it would make sense that Jim’s son’s writing style and wit would bear enough resemblance for my enjoyment to crossover. Although Dead Man’s Hand is undeniably well-crafted and most likely marks the beginning of a long and popular series I have to say that  I’m honestly not sure if this book or series is going to be for me.

I was honestly a bit sad to write the above sentence because I was genuinely excited about discovering a new series to get hooked on. Unfortunately, it took me weeks to finish this book when I usually get through one in just a day or two. Despite the intriguing plot and solid worldbuilding I personally found the humor a bit too juvenile than I normally enjoy. I also really struggled to connect with the characters and to find enjoyment in their storylines.

My hope is that I only react this way to the first book in this series. I’m hopeful that as the world expands and we delve deeper into the characters’ lives I’ll grow to enjoy the series more. Additionally, I’ll happily recommend this book to anyone looking for something to read in the genre. I think it’s important to note that just because it didn’t resonate with me personally that doesn’t mean it won’t for most fans of the genre. In fact, I really do believe that the majority of readers will find it quite appealing.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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