Author: J.S. Kelly
Publisher: Gallery/ Saga Press
Released: September 21st, 2021
Warnings: Stalking, assault, torture, kidnapping, unwanted surgery
Gutter Mage is the debut novel of J.S. Kelly, and guys: consider me hooked. I loved this novel, and I loved the writing. I’m adding J.S Kelly to my list of auto-buy authors.
Rosalind Featherstone is a woman of many names. Her friends call her Roz, and anybody looking to get punched calls her the Gutter Mage. She’s worked hard to make peace with her lot in life and has cut a career for herself.
While she’s never taking on a case involving a kidnapped infant, there’s a first time for everything, right? Only nothing is what it seems, and Roz quickly finds herself up to her neck in danger and magical politics. What fun.
“There were people at various points in my life who had told me that I shouldn’t fight dirty. That there was a right way and a wrong way to right, and punching a guy in the eggs fell squarely on the wrong side.”
If you love your magic books laced with a hefty dose of noir and sarcasm, then you’re going to love Gutter Mage. I know I did. I want so much more – more information about the world, the characters, and especially the magic.
Roz is arguably the crassest magical being I have ever had the joy of reading about – and that’s saying something. I can see why she got the nickname Gutter Mage – and it isn’t just because of her magic or the type of clients she prefers.
I love how dark and gritty this novel was. Even the magical system had a darker tone, which fit nicely with the overall noir aesthetic. It also suited Roz’s personality for obvious reasons. Personally, I think it did a fantastic job of making this world and story stand out from the rest.
Gutter Mage was a fun read because it had a lot of elements blended into one story. It’s a magical noir world, where the main character has taken up a new case (mystery) to solve. Throw in personal conflicts, political scheming, and some surprises twists – and a lot is going on in this book.
I’ll confess that it took me a little while to get into the narrative – Roz is abrasive, which makes it harder to appreciate what’s going on. Still, it wasn’t long before I was fully invested, and by the time the book ended, I wasn’t ready to let go.
To sum it up: I adored Gutter Mage. It was a unique and fun read, and I’m already crossing all of my fingers and toes that there will be a sequel. Pretty please?
Thanks to Gallery/Saga Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.