Monday, January 9, 2017
Review: The Corner Store Witch by H.D.Lynn
by H.D. Lynn
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
The Chronicles of Narnia but with more swearing, more katanas, and less allegory. It’s nerdy, anime inspired fun for the whole family.
Leone owns Pulp Magic (Comics, Books, Games, & More). Angry customers are her biggest concern-until a man from another world literally drops into her shop. And oni have followed him. Leone defends herself with a magical staff, which marks her with powerful runes. Her supernatural tattoo sleeves make her desperately thirsty, yet practically allergic to water-and oh, they foretell the fate of the realms of demons, gods, and men.
With her four friends and inter-dimensional guide, Leone travels to the realm of the gods, searching for magical cosmetic surgery. She doesn’t want to carry the fate of the world literally on her arms. But the truth she finds-of a war raging between worlds-changes her, challenges her.
Look at that cover. Look at that blurb. I read the blurb and my ears instantly perked up. This book sounded so awesome! I unfortunately have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.
Here's why I can't give it a glowing review.
No one acts like normal people. What do I mean by this? Well, if a dude in a robe carrying a staff poofs out of nowhere and literally falls at my feet...I'm not going to go, "Huh..must be a wizard. Cool." I'm going to freak the eff out and call whatever authorities that I can dial up, pronto! I know this is fiction, but Leone and her friends reactions just seemed...off. I get that they are all basically geeks, but still. Even the nerdiest of nerds would panic just a little bit!
Then there's Leone herself. It's absolutely wonderful that her character is not the typical heroine. She's young. She's a business owner. She's smart. She's got the potential to be a badass, but she's unfortunately written in a way that makes her just come across as whiny and has a chip on her shoulder. Everything bad that happens to her is due to her skin color or the fact that she's a woman. It's wonderful that most of the characters are POC. That is awesome! It makes me happy to have characters and stories with all kinds of people, from all walks of life. It's wonderful that the writer chose a black fantasy nerd to be her main character! That completely rocks my socks! It's a great bit of progress, but Leone seems more hung up on her being black than any other character in the book. The writer makes it a point that we never forget it. Leone describes herself constantly. Other characters remark on it, I lost count of how many times she described her natural hair..What I'm saying is I LOVE a book with diversity written in a way that seems natural. What I don't enjoy is when it just feels forced. It just comes across as awkward writing and poor character development.
Now we go onto the plot. The plot was super interesting. It just didn't work well for me. It's a mix of Japanese lore and good old fashioned geeky plot twists. Leone is the chosen one. She doesn't want to be. She's forced into a destiny that she's not sure she can fulfill nor does she want to. It's up to her to save...You get the point. This is the basic plot line of a lot of great books. The idea isn't new, but how a writer presents it is what makes it work. The Corner Store Witch just didn't pull it off for me. I really wished I could have loved it, but unfortunately I just couldn't.
To be fair, this is a short book. It's also the first in a series, so maybe it will get better? I am not sure I'm going to read the next one to find out though.