Review: Toil and Trouble by H. P. Mallory ★★★★

Toil and Trouble by H. P. Mallory
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Jolie Wilkins #2
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-1456428815
Page Count: 270
Review Copy: Amazon purchase

The Underworld in civil war. The cause? A witch who can reanimate the dead. A sexy as sin vampire determined to claim her. An infuriatingly handsome warlock torn between duty and love. Who says blonds have more fun? After defending herself against fairy magic, Jolie Wilkins wakes to find her world turned upside down—the creatures of the Underworld on the precipice of war. The Underworld is polarized in a battle of witch against witch, creature against creature, led by the villainous Bella, who would be Queen. While Jolie has one goal in mind, to stake the vampire, Ryder, who nearly killed her, she also must choose between the affections of her warlock employer, Rand, and the mysteriously sexy vampire, Sinjin. And as if that weren’t enough to ruin a girl’s day, everything Jolie knows will be turned inside out when she’s thrust into the shock of a lifetime. Toil and Trouble is the second book in the Jolie Wilkins series, the follow up to Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble.

REVIEW

Let battle commence.

This second instalment of the Jolie Wilkins series sees Jolie and crew preparing  for the upcoming supernatural war. Pellam manor has been set as the stage for battle training witch stylee, and that unfortunately means Rand and Sinjin quite often having to share the same air space.

Shoulda bought a bigger house.

I thought going into this book that the plot was going to be mainly concentrating on the supernatural war, perhaps with lots of training scenes and the battle as the climax at the end. But once again Mallory has been able to completely surprise me with where she took the story. I love that these books aren't predictable and also how many different things Mallory likes to squeeze into each instalment. There are big surprises in store for readers, particularly those invested in the Rand-Jolie relationship in all its complicated glory.

There were several new characters introduced. I haven't made my mind up about a couple of them yet; specifically about whether or not they can be trusted. Jolie's character is developing nicely to that of a more confident and capable witch. She has a bit of that old Anita Blake syndrome whereby every new male character seems to have to fancy the pants off her unless he's married or dead. And even being one or both of those might not get you off the hook with Anita. But, luckily Jolie's case isn't nearly as severe. I understand the need to make your lead character seem cool and desirable, but it can get a bit much if it's every male she meets. There aren't many positive female characters in these books- the best friend character is again underwritten as it is in Mallory's other series. A friendship relationship, if done well, can be extremely compelling and helps to reinforce your MC as more than just a desirable female. It shouldn't always be about male attention and love triangles.

I must say I found the ending rather bizzare. I can talk more on what happened there in the review for the next one (no spoilers here) but it was sort of a "you are the one, Neo" moment that left me blinking stupidly.

All in all, I am enjoying this series. Perhaps not quite as much as Dulcie, but it's close. I just hope that we can have some happy times for Rand and Jolie soon. It seems no sooner is one obstacle removed from their path, than another one replaces it. Is there any hope for them any time soon? I will be checking out Witchful Thinking to find out.

3.5 Stars ★★★1/2

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fun read. Thanks for the review! :D

    ReplyDelete

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