Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Independent on 20 July 2015
Reading Challenges: 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Wynter, like the heroes of old, is undertaking an epic journey. She isn’t seeking a holy grail or trying to slay the Nemean lion (which is just as well as Hercules has already finished him off) but instead is trying to reform herself. She gains a mentor, allies, enemies, possible love interests and meets all sorts of weird and wonderful people along the way to becoming a successful muse.
The good bits
The concept behind the novel and the mythological world building were great. Thankfully the mythology wasn’t shoved down our throats with huge chunks of info but instead we got many sly references that had me chuckling. I spent way too much time dredging up my memories of Greek mythology to work out who Wynter’s father was. My best guess is Apollo because he is often associated with the Muses and is known for having his way with chicks who turn into plants to escape him. Wynter’s mother is good with plants and Wynter owns a talking one so it sort of fits.
The idea of the gods interfering in our every day lives isn’t unusual but the gods employing human minions, most of whom are losers in real life, to inspire creativity in ordinary people was unexpected and worked well. The projects that Wynter scored as a muse were fairly modest as she was only a newbie but they mattered to the people that were undertaking them and Naquin made me want them to succeed.
There is lots of humour and the snarky Wynter has some great one liners. To give you an idea of what to expect, the novel opens with Wynter’s plant called Phyllis bullying her into getting a job by singing loudly and badly. Once Wynter got past her mini breakdown and headed into the Mt Olympus Employment agency, it was game on with office politics which are always ripe for comedy. A few times the jokes missed the mark but as there were so many, it didn’t really matter that much.
The not so good bits
I really struggled to connect with Wynter for the first half of the novel because she was so blasé about life and all it entailed even though she had a great sense of humour. This is an interesting approach for an urban fantasy as they often feature strong, kick-ass heroines. We are told repeatedly that Wynter has hit rock bottom and see the effects of this with her inability to maintain relationships, a job, complete hobbies etc but I wanted to know how her attitude came about. Obviously her mother’s interesting approach to parenting played its part but there must be more to it. I’m hoping that the identity of Wynter’s father will be revealed in future books and there will be similarities between the two so that Wynter is a clear product of nature and nurture. Wynter did start to evolve into a protagonist I could enjoy spending a few hours with but she lacked the warmth of Zoey from Naquin’s Monster Haven series.
Reminds me of…
The Reluctant Reaper series by Gina X. Grant – both protagonists get thrust into a supernatural bureaucratic world and struggle to make sense of it.
It took a while for me to warm to Wynter (pun not intended) but now the foundation has been laid, I think Naquin has another great series on her hands.