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carols

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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Witches Incorporated - K.E. Mills Three and a half stars; rating it upwards due to it coming together in the last half of the book. Feels like a young adult book; it's overall style reminds me a great deal of Patricia Wrede's Dealing With Dragons stories. Overall minimal world-building, with a main focus on how characters interact with each other--lots of jousting dialogue. A common epithet is "Saint Snodgrass," so you quickly get a sense of the silly. I picked this up on a whim, not having read the first book. One of the initial scenes has a main character, Gerald, revisiting decisions made in the past, and as we are introduced to the three other protagonists, they refer to a troubled past as well. I get the sense of it being a moral crisis for Gerald, and occupational turning point for Melissande, but it's not anything that hinders enjoyment of the current story. For the most part, the characters are focused on current issues, but part of the issues involve how they are creating and defining themselves, which includes how they are dealing with past decisions. The women of the group--three of them, if you count the transformed human Reg--have set up a "witches' service" business, and are trying to improve business. They take on a frivolous case and it soon leads to another case that intersects with Gerald's own investigations.I didn't rate this book higher because I felt characterization lacking. We are supposed to believe that Mel was a princess and had some responsibility in her prior home, she's the one that's most self-doubting, cautious and worrying, and is hen-pecked by the bird into worrying about the size of her bottom, while the wizardly one is impetuous, unselfconscious and manipulative in her 'cuteness.' I actually kept getting the two mixed up at first, thinking that the princess would be the self-centered, manipulative one.Far too much of their daily dialogue focuses around deeply embedded emotional issues. It seems to me that one doesn't bring up personal grievances every time one gets a chance, especially with friends. We quickly learn that Mel wears men's clothes for comfort and Binnie feels left out that her uncle didn't think she should be left any inheritance because she's a "gel," which seems to be a derogatory slang for a girl, perhaps working girl (no, not that way). So we're given the premise of a sexist society, yet we witness Mel and Bibbie picking at each other, or the hexed-into-bird-shape Reg, or either of their guy friends. I'm all about consciousness raising, but desire to be treated like a grown up doesn't translate into acting like one, and these two need to act like friends, not competitors. The romance, however budding, between Monk and Mel, and perhaps Gerald and Bibbie, is very circumspect, and we know about it mostly because we are told, rather than shown. I don't particularly mind as I don't enjoy a lot of romance in my books, but it fell flat.I felt the tone was consistently light and enjoyable. As the characters were given more to learn and do, they stopped picking at each other as much. The plot became interesting as the two cases converged, and the resolution satisfactory. I'll catch the next book from the library.