BBNYA Finalist: Accused by MN Jolley

BBNYA Finalist: Accused by MN JolleyAccused (The KC Warlock Weekly #1) by M.N. Jolley

on November 3 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 250

My name is Levi. I’m a journalist, I’m autistic, I’m bad at magic, and I swear I didn’t kill her.

Research for the paper usually falls into a few basic patterns. Someone in the city says there’s a troll under Buck O'Neil Bridge, or they’ll call just so a friendly ear will listen to them complain about a pixie infestation.

That sort of content carries me through slow news weeks. It’s rare that I uncover a murder.

Being framed for murder, though? That’s a first.

With the Wizard’s Council hunting me for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ve got no choice but to solve the murder and clear my name. If I don’t unravel this case, nobody will, and I’ll go down for it so hard I might never see the light of day again.

Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This review is part of the BBNYA finalist tour, Accused won third place in the competition.

I started reading this without knowing much about the book aside from the cover, title, and the author’s name. It’s a fun experience once the interrogation room changes into a kids’ playground and everything you thought you knew, is shattered. I’m sure that must’ve been the experience of Levi’s friend, Ben when he was first introduced to the magical world. Like a rude awakening, but welcome nonetheless. It’s a good opening and made me very interested in what was to come.

Levi is an interesting character, an autistic reporter, who will do anything (or nearly anything) to uncover the truth or a story. Ben, a date who got swept up in Levi’s adventures, is a rock. He sticks with Levi no matter what, and I hope they’ll share more adventures from now on since they work well together. It was fun to see Levi prepare one of the few spells he could do but without over-explaining things, it didn’t feel like the author needed to tell the reader something. It was just part of the story. Maybe that’s why it worked so well, the combination of the narrative techniques and the characters used.

One thing I struggled with (and that’s wholly on me) is the timestamps. Most stories using flashbacks, and especially such as this, where the main character shares his side of the story, talking in the ‘present’, confused me at first. (I also didn’t feel great so that didn’t help either.) But it worked really well, and the author uses the technique in a great way, especially towards the end. The last chapter of the book is the perfect setup for an exciting series. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

I give Accused four stars. It’s a fast-paced urban fantasy following a regular man who knows too much and too little about the hidden magical world. Highly recommended for urban fantasy fans who want a more inclusive book.

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