Book Review · fantasy

Book Review: License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr

So after a really long departure from this blog, I am back. (Life got in the way, work, sickness, death in the family, that sort of thing. At least it’s not snowing.) I am starting again with a book review.

Blurb from Amazon: Psychic Agent Nola O’Grady isn’t sure returning to San Francisco, and living near her unusual family, is a good idea. Her job, with a psychic agency so obscure even the CIA doesn’t know it exists, can be perilous, and she’s afraid of the relatives getting involved.

Then the Agency saddles her with Israeli secret agent Ari Nathan, and she has a bigger problem on her hands, because tact and compromise are not Ari’s strong points. Their mission is to track down a serial killer obsessed with werewolves. He sees them everywhere and shoots whenever he thinks he has one in his sights. Ari assumes the man’s psychotic, but in truth he’s murdering actual werewolves. Nola should know. Her younger brother Pat, a lycanthrope, was the first victim.

Can Nola’s psychic talents and Ari’s skill with guns keep them alive long enough to unravel the greater mystery behind the killings? Can they save the werewolves and the world while stopping Nola’s family from running headlong into danger?

I’ve read quite a few of other Katharine Kerr books and when I saw she was coming out with an urban fantasy, I was ecstatic. The title is interesting. It sounds almost like license to kill, which reminds of James Bond movies. The concept is interesting, too, what with secret government agencies, psychics, werewolves and serial killers. Unfortunately License to Ensorcell is not up to her usual standards. I am not sure what went wrong; her other books are pretty damn good.

One of the things I really, really disliked was all the “Search Mode: General”, “Search Mode: Chaos” and “Search Mode: Danger”. WTH? I can’t remember the last time a published writer did that. It reads like something out of an RPG game (games I don’t play!). It takes me out of the story and I realize most of the prose is pretty damn awkward. Or the story feels very forced, as though the writer doesn’t actually want to write this. About the only thing that doesn’t feel awkward is when the two main characters interact. That do that lots of times. I found myself skimming past all the awkwardness, and, sadly, that’s a good chunk of the book.

The other thing I found really unbelievable is the male character. When he’s introduced, he’s all psychics aren’t real. Werewolves aren’t real. Main character is a nutter. He starts believing in all that, does a 180 so fast, I am left staring at the page. He has proof of nothing, yet he believes on the say so of someone he called a nutter.

Anyway, the book’s concept is interesting. Everything else? Picture me shrugging. I won’t read the next book in this series, but I will still read her other books.


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