I often judge books by their covers — might have something to do with why I’m also a cover designer — but sometimes I also buy them because of their titles.
That’s what happened with The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry. How I could I not buy it?! The same thing happened with A Natural History of Dragons.
The book tells the story of Dellaria Wells, a down-on-her-luck fire witch talks her way into a plum job as a lady’s bodyguard.
Delly Well, the heroine, is complex with many layers, like a ogre. However, what I really loved about this book is that it stars an entire cast of female characters. They’re strong, fierce, manipulative, caring, and multi-talented. Half troll Winn is a particular favourite. The only major non-female character is Buttons, a skeleton mouse with heaps of personality. I loved Buttons.
Besides the cast, the worldbuilding is interesting. There’s a feel of Victorian without it being historical or really steampunk. A large portion of the story takes place in Leiscourt, in particular West Leiscourt. One nice touch is when the author points out parts of West Leiscourt that have seen better days – it felt very real in terms of the evolution of cities.
My only complaint is there’s one particular made up word that sometimes is important to understanding the sentence. However, the word is never defined. However, that’s a small complaint so I’ll likely pick up the author’s first book, Unnatural Magic.
You can find more on C.M. Waggoner’s website.