*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Bleeding Ink Publishing and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Briar Pryce has the power to change the emotions of others by handing them a rose. It is a talent that has done surprisingly little for her, besides landing her a dead-end enchantment delivery job and killing any chance she had with her childhood-crush-turned-roommate. Worst of all, her ability might be responsible for getting her best friend transformed into a cat via a cursed muffin basket. Needless to say, Briar is nowhere near happily-ever-after. But that’s just life as a twentysomething in the Poisoned Apple, New York City’s lost borough of fairy-tale wonder and rent-controlled magic.
When Briar reluctantly agrees to help find a princess’s kidnapped boyfriend in exchange for reversing the curse on her friend, she gets the heroic quest she never really wanted. Unfortunately, the life of a noble heroine is not all it’s cracked up to be – the hours blow, and Briar suspects that the Royal family employing her might be evil, Republican, or both. To complete the suckage, a killer smoke magician is stalking Briar as she searches both the Poisoned Apple and Manhattan for the missing boy. As tensions between the Poisoned Apple royalty ignite and civil war looms, Briar must figure out how to write her own happy ending–or she’ll just be ending.
If you love urban fantasy and old-fashioned fairytales then this book is the mashup for you. Personally, having read this book, I would happily read anything Scott Mooney writes!
Briar Rose’s magical talent is one of the most fascinating and versatile I have encountered, with so much plot potential and room for developing characters in so many directions too. I got very excited as she gained greater control and strength and we saw her abilities begin to evolve in unexpected ways!
The plot is a classic PI-style mystery; well-constructed and nicely paced and the supporting characters are funny, flawed, fragile, heroic and complex. The writing style is unobtrusive and immersive – I completely forgot I was reading a book at all as I followed Briar and Antoine in their investigation.
Scott Mooney effortlessly blends the modern world of New York with the fairytale world of the Poisoned Apple; numerous modern pop culture references with a classic detective noir vibe. The worldbuilding is clever and has infinite potential for further stories, even without ending on a teaser (that also functions as a punchline to a running joke AND the clue to a bigger, ongoing mystery)!
- I recommend this book wholeheartedly.
- It’s right up my street, as a firm fan of The Dresden Files, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Fables and similar.
- I have set an alert for future books by Scott Mooney and recommend you do the same.
Places like this always have many names. The Lost Borough, Fairyland, Pucktown, The City that Always Dreams. Lately, it’s been going by the Poisoned Apple.
Me? I just call it home.
– Scott Mooney, Pricked
Pricked is available on Amazon right now!