There are books that try way too hard to charm me and often miss the mark. A Gentleman in Moscow comes to mind. I like to laugh and I like to be charmed but at a certain point, I need to feel like I’m interacting with real characters and not charm avatars.
The Spellman Files walks a very fine line. It has no discernible plot and that usually leaves me frustrated. I read to read stories; stories hook me and keep me engaged. If the quality of writing can meet a (what I think is) reasonable standard, then I’ll likely plow through. Fortunately, what made this book for me is Lisa Lutz. She’s a fun writer. I laughed so hard at much of this book. It had enough quirkiness that engaged me, while still giving me characters I found interesting enough to care about. I know Izzy is supposed to be annoying but I appreciated her mid-20s struggles and found some of them relatable.
Again, plot is a weakness here and that’s why I can’t go higher than three stars. Lutz is less interested in telling a story, preferring to parade her characters about for entertainment. It worked for me but also left me a bit disappointed. Had she been able to focus on a plot more, I’d be inclined to dive t through the rest of this series. But there were too many starts and stops for me to fully enjoy it. I’ll still probably grab book two at some point. Who doesn’t like to be charmed?