“This wasn’t at all like her ordinary lackadaisical gallops with old friends or perfect strangers. This felt like being a page of old newspaper caught up in a sudden gust of wind.”
If you read the synopsis for The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, you might think that it’s a simple sapphic love story with your typical protagonists from two different sides of the tracks. But it’s much more than that. It’s a crime caper with a love story at its heart complete with a bing bong-ing necromanced mouse skeleton leading the investigation.
This mismatched group of magical ladies are brought together when they are charged with protecting a young woman who is about to get married. Delly is the star of our story; not much more than a grown-up street urchin running games to make money and hunting dark alleys to make sure her drug-addicted mother is still alive she finds herself suddenly in a world of privilege. As the story progresses we find that or she may not be the most sophisticated person, she is street savvy and exactly what is needed to properly protect the young bride. As their short stent in this project ends they find themselves embroiled in a much bigger criminal mystery and find themselves pulling together around a common cause. Our Delly finds herself drawn out from her life of moral ambiguity into a much more proper one. But will it take?
The writing is unbelievablely clever, the world uses its own vernacular of hilarious terms for various things. Some examples:
Gull : Girl
Gallop : Casual sex
Daintitudinous : fragile
Regulation hammerball : playing by the rules
That made the book extremely challenging to read. I am someone who can regularly power through for 500 pages in a day but I found myself working through this much more slowly. This was both because I wanted to better understand the world (the world building here is not as obvious as in some other novels, you need to put together a lot of the pieces for yourself) but also because I wanted to savor the words. The more closely you read each sentence the more you can appreciate the vision or laughter it evoked.
The one thing that I didn’t love about the story, is that there was parts that seems to glorify drug use. You see the gritty bad side but there are several passages that talk about the elation and feelings of escape. This is classed as an adult novel, but I feel like should younger readers pick this up it was more than I was comfortable with. I will caveat the statement by saying I am a complete straight-edge so my opinion may be severe for the average person but I feel like it’s a warning I would have preferred to have tacked on somewhere. I also really struggled with Delly’s mommy issues, as they struck a little close to home, but I think that’s a sign of great writing, when it makes you uncomfortable.
When trying to think of parallels to the story I’d say it’s Once and Future Witches with a dash of Things in Jars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫
Thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.
Any pub day releases you’re excited for today?