Much of Madness – S.E. Summa

There were things to like about this book. I kind of liked the main characters. Kind of. I didn’t mind the setup of the magic, with the covers they’ve developed to “pass” in the real world.

Unfortunately, the writing did not quite carry the load, and the villain of the piece is so very Comic Book Villainous taken to a truly disgusting and uncomfortable level, that it just wasn’t enjoyable.

There were things I liked. (“Hope you like my new recipe. They’re called Shut the Fucupcakes.”) But the writing suffered from the usual ailments, Idtimwytim, Comma Abuse and Neglect, Sentence Fragment, and lightning bug syndromes. It was on Kindle, so of course I have examples to illustrate why the book was not much fun to read (keeping in mind that I had a review galley there’s a very slim chance that some stuff was fixed when the book was published)…

“drawing haggard breaths” – not how “haggard” should be used
“his normal pallid white” – redundant
“long comma red hair”
“small comma iron tables”
“You never (lack of comma) know this may be a great opportunity…”
“Finn sat relaxed. His fingers splayed on his lap and his face neutral.” – I hate badly used sentence fragments.
“The hex seemed familiar after examining its patterns on both Seraphina and Finn.” – The hex is not doing the examining.
“which helped him win at poker and perfect bootlegging record” – what?
“she lives in a one-bedroom studio apartment” – which? Not the same thing. Trust me.
“I highly suggest you step away, slow and steady.” Strongly.
“Khat rose and swooned while almost falling back onto the bed again.” Awkward.
“What havoc would she have reeked in the mortal realm?” – God, I hope that was fixed.
“‘The Mistress was Max’s master.'” – Say that five times fast.

The narrator’s voice becomes a bit juvenile at times –
“But then Khat clapped and nodded so fast she looked like a bobble-head.”
“Seraphina was human, well, sort of”

The club called “Absinthe and Alchemy” is nicknamed “Triple A” or something like that, and someone says “Okay, I get the first two A’s, but what’s the third?” And the joke is that it’s “Ass”, because strippers. Except … do I really need to point it out? All right: Absinthe And Alchemy. So. Um.

A big part of the story is that if Seraphina touches someone under certain circumstances, she pretty much does a Rogue on them. You’d think those around her would remember to wear gloves, or she would. You’d think wrong.

Another ailment the book, er, ails from is “Oh, Good, a Recap, Because I Forgot What I Read Four Minutes Ago” Disorder. It doesn’t do it as often as some, but … really, a badly done once is enough.

And I’m not sure what Desdemona was doing singing “Ave Maria” in a production of Othello, but … whatever.

Marceau muses about what it would be like to be ordinary, “to work a normal job, spend free time with friends and family, to not bear the weight of Maximilian’s cruel demands”… Well, I’ll tell you, buddy, except for that last little bit it sucks. Shut up.

So, again, there was a nugget of something in there which with a lot more work could have been … something. But (to recap!) between the sometimes terrible writing lapses and just really … gross violence (it wasn’t scary horror you’re-gonna-want-a-light-on writing – it was just nauseating)… And some silly plot turns… no. Sorry. It just wasn’t much fun.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review.

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