REVIEW: Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs Book 1) by Sam Argent
All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks. Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.
Dear Sam Argent,
I am always on the lookout for SFF books with gay romance storylines and I had fond memories of your previous book, “Family of Lies: Sebastian”. I did not have to think for long before clicking on this one because it sounded right up my alley. The blurb promised an agency of magical misfits doing odd jobs and a main character who seemed to go through life trying to avoid magical catastrophes that followed him from his past.
Unfortunately I ended up being not nearly as happy with this book as I expected to be. In fact, during the first thirty five percent of the story on my kindle I contemplated abandoning the book not once but several times. Why? Because I was in turn confused and irritated while reading it and I was only getting more irritated as the plot moved along.
First and foremost, I have to say that I definitely prefer when a writer is doing what the author *tried* to do here – threw me into the middle of things and let me figure out on my own what was actually going on and what kind of fictional world I was in. I do not need a lot of info dumps and I do not want the writer to always lead me by the hand to make sure I swallowed every tiny piece of information. I like being able to figure out things by myself. But you know what? Sometimes I need some information about why the character is alternately behaving a complete idiot or being a jerk to his coworkers, over and over again.
I guess I did not feel like I was picking up tantalizing clues of what was to come or what happened in the past, instead I felt like I was witnessing weird behavior for no reason at all. Or rather, the reason was being concealed from me but I was not curious to find out what was being concealed, instead I was steadily losing patience with Jeremy and his annoying ways.
I’ll give you an example of his behavior since it irritated me so. He is a jerk to his boss and he is a jerk to his coworkers, even though it is pretty clear that banter notwithstanding, the people around him like him and want him there and do not want him dead. I just did not get it.
Then we get Jeremy repeatedly feeling guilty about his lies – without any explanation of why he is lying and what is he lying about. As I said, I just did not feel the reveal was well paced at all and the characterization suffered because of that.
Then, at about thirty five percent of the story the first surprise is revealed. Apparently Jeremy has a secret love interest, although according to Jeremy they are “just fucking”. Even though it is very quickly revealed that of course they are not “just fucking” – the love interest made a real sacrifice, indeed, repeated sacrifices, in order to keep Jeremy safe, and I think it is very clear that he is deeply in love with Jeremy and Jeremy is in love with him.
So when I observe the lengths to which the other guy is willing to go to insure Jeremy’s safety, I cannot understand why Jeremy was constantly being a dick to him during the times they were not having sex.
I just did not buy Jeremy’s sniping at his guy; it was even worse than how he was with his coworkers. The other guy just did nothing whatsoever to deserve that, and while it could have been that Jeremy was like that because of his own issues, the narrative did not make it clear to me. Regular readers of my reviews may remember that I am a big fan of any variety of the “from enemies to lovers” trope if it is executed well. I do not think the way they were at each other’s throats was well executed.
All secrets are revealed in time, of course – at least all the secrets about Jeremy seem to have been revealed. I still have plenty of questions in my head about his oss and coworkers and this world in general.
I liked the second hafl of the book better, but make no mistake, reading the first part was an exercise in frustration and my frustration did not completely go away in the second part. Jeremy’s reasons for lying and being aggressive were revealed, but the problem for me was that I did not completely buy into them. The author did manage to make me like Jeremy and the other guy at the end, sort of, so the grade is what you see.