Review: Destiny Blues

Posted: August 9, 2016 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: Sharon Joss, Urban Fantasy, Books for Chicks, The Great Self-published Fantasy Blog-off

Life was going just fine for Mattie when on her meter-maid route she discovers that a demon is following her. This is bad news, since the FBI considers demon masters potential terrorists. She’s desperate to find someone to get rid of the stinky little guy when…another one seems to attach itself to her. That’s impossible, isn’t it?

Mattie feels like she messes up everything: she gets put on probation from her job, hurts herself and totals the moped she uses on her rounds, misses her demon-banishing appointments, and now has to babysit her niece for a few days while her brother Lance is out of town. Friend Karen takes her out for lunch and helps Mattie get some much-needed perspective–and a potential date from the hunky waiter. But then Mattie discovers that Lance is up to his old gambling problems again, more demons start following her around, and she learns that the FBI wants to talk to her.

DESTINY BLUES by Sharon Joss is one of the books from Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off given to EBR. LARCOUT (EBR Review), which I finished before this book, is a better novel overall, so alas DESTINY won’t make it to the next round here at EBR, but I wanted to point out that despite its failings, this book was fun to read and it’s easy to see this author’s potential.

To start, Joss does a great job with PoV (which was a pet peeve in last year’s blog-off ), she’s got clean prose, and Mattie is a fun narrator who’s the just right amount of spunk and girly. The PoV character has her issues, but they make her feel like a real person dealing with a difficult situation–a situation that includes family, which makes everything much messier. I especially enjoyed the ideas about how demons and demon masters work, why the FBI can’t trust them, and generally the setting where Mattie lives.

Joss has a good hold on the cast of characters, making them easy to identify and remember without adding more than needed to tell the story (a common pitfall in this kind of story). There’s a too-short scene with the Hand of Fate; Mattie’s brother makes an occasional appearance despite his big influence on the story; friend Karen who’s more a sounding board than anything beyond a stock character; and then there’s the mysterious Rhys, mage, tour guide of the paranormal world, and romantic interest. All of these–and other characters–add to the story and help us understand what makes Mattie tick.

Life was going just fine for Mattie when she discovers a demon is following her. And then there's another one. Is this a bad sign?

However, despite the engaging premise about demons and their masters, ultimately too many questions are left that the story feel incomplete–like when a Big Mac is served without the special sauce. I wasn’t ever really clear about how the Hand of Fate’s magic worked, how does she even know what to do? Why don’t paranormals have auras? Etc. Joss does her best to fix this with a few infodumps, but they’re misplaced and simply don’t provide enough information. The forward movement of the story has a few blips, but doesn’t get bogged down by boring scenes; however, there were issues with flow in (and sometimes between) scenes, character movement was sometimes confusing. It didn’t help, either, that there were more than a handful of typos and errors in the text itself.

Sharon Joss gets points for a fun idea, an entertaining PoV character, and style, but the other issues hopefully won’t prevent you from enjoying the story for what it is.

  • Recommended Age: 15+
  • Language: A handful
  • Violence: Some, nothing gruesome
  • Sex: Referenced; some situations get a little steamy

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