Sbuchler's Reviews > Witches Incorporated

Witches Incorporated by K.E. Mills
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's review
Aug 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2009, scifi-fantasy, read-in-2012, re-read
Read in August, 2009 , read count: 1

Genre: Urban High Fantasy/Mystery

The adventures continue. I enjoyed this novel as much as the first one (_The Accidental Sorcerer_). Again, the cover and blurb text is misleading - the tone of the book is not lighthearted. It's serious, but occasionally funny. This time Gerald shares the point-of-view spotlight with Mel (short for Her Royal Highness Princess Melissande of New Ottosland). Mills continues her habit of making her character’s lives difficult: At the end of the first book Mel traipsed off to Ottosland to become a witch. It turns out that she had no aptitude. So instead she opens a business, Witches, Inc. with her boyfriend's sister Bibbie. Bibbie seems designed to be Mel's nightmare - she looks like the beautiful vision that everyone expects a princess to be, and on top of that she's a magical genius (just like her brothers); but despite very realistic twinges of jealous they get along well. Even while the business is having trouble finding it's feet. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for the reader) their big break leads them on a collision course with Gerald's very first assignment as a very junior janitor (a.k.a. a government spy). Hi-jinx ensues.

Like most high fantasy the plot is full of action, adventure and almost incredible coincidences; however unlike most fantasy novels - the reader is actually _shown_ the hero being a surprisingly good guy. We're not just told he's a good guy: Early in the novel, Gerald is essentially subjugated to the Milgram test (classic phych experiment, one of the results of which was the creation of the U.S. Human Subjects Committee, and requiring a review of almost all experiment proposals involving humans before the experiments can be preformed). Gerald refuses to push the button. Looking at the Milgram results, that makes Gerald a very rare individual! He wallows in regret over the bad guys that he couldn't save. Again, a very unusual (but refreshing) character trait for a fantasy action hero! Repeatedly Gerald is subjected to situations with nasty choices; and each time he comes out a true hero, if somewhat battered by having to make the choices. Unlike most authors, Mills allows the reader to see and to trust that Gerald will make the best moral/ethical choices he can. Similarly, Mills shows the other characters also having realistic psychological reactions to violence and such things as discovering that one's brother was a psychopath. Again, I found this refreshing in my fiction - although this is a lot of why the book feels much heavier and more serious to me than the tone of the cover and marketing blurb might suggest.
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