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Magic & Mayhem series*

Early Works Not As Good As Current Ones

I am a big fan of Erica Ridley’s Regency romances. In those, she is able to craft well-done novellas and novels that are definitely a cut above the typical Regency because of her attention to period detail and her research into sometimes rather strange aspects of the time, like one book that had a heroine who was very interested in weights and measures. So I was curious about this trilogy of hers that was not Regency. I was interested to see how this delightful author would do with a more fantastical topic like magic. Apparently, these three books were written earlier in Erica’s career and have been rewritten, enhanced, and otherwise changed from their originals. I am sorry to say that these three books did not quite live up to my expectations of the author. You can tell that they are early career works; I will admit that I found it fascinating to get a glimpse into the author’s evolution  as a writer. She doesn’t come across as wholly comfortable working in the world of magic as she does in Regency, which she wears like a second skin. Compared to Ms. Ridley’s recent works, the plotting was as tight—her Regency novellas are is super tight and well done for a short form—and the characterization wasn’t as well defined as her current novels. As works of magical fantasy, of which I am a voracious reader, I found the novellas and novel in this collection to fall short of the mark expected these days by modern readers. If you are already an Erica Ridley fan, you may well enjoy this collection of books just to see how her early books read and look at her venture into magical fantasy. Others may prefer to find better books in this sub-subgenre.

NOTE: I received this as a box set, so that is the way that I reviewed it… as a series whole. But the series is not available commercially as a box set. So the link to Amazon and the preview are for the first book of the series.