Maribella arrives in the town of Leafhaven to take possession of the bookshop she just bought. When she finds it infested by goblins and learns that the town guard won’t do anything about it, she ends up hiring Asteria as a bodyguard for the shop. The goblins are only the first challenge the pair face as Mirabella attempts to make her bookshop a success.
I think I’ve mentioned in a previous review that I’ve really been enjoying the trend of cozy fantasies. I’ve read a number of them this year, and while not all of them I’ve enjoyed as much as others, none of them have ever actively annoyed me. Until now. This novella actively made me annoyed. If it had not been a library book, I would have dropped it in the bathtub. On the plus side, it is a quick read, under two hundred pages. And there are moments where the potential shines through, but for the most part it was just frustrating. Admittedly, I am the one who kept reading hoping it would get better.
The story itself is very much by the number stereotypical cozy fantasy. There’s nothing actually wrong with that, and if done well can be very enjoyable. But the main thing that drove me up the wall was the narrator. It very much felt like the author had gone for a Terry Pratchett style without any of Pratchett’s charm or wit. If it hadn’t been for that choice, I’m pretty sure it would have been a meh read rather than an aggravating one. The main reason I didn’t give this one star is because I’m pretty sure that I’m being petty and unreasonable simply because I just finished the book and am still annoyed. Two out of five stars.