by Annie Bellet
Publisher: Saga Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
In the fantasy book, Level Grind, by Annie Bellet, Jade Crow, a 50 year old sorceress, is running from her ex boyfriend, Samir, who is trying to eat her heart to gain her power. Jade runs a comic book shop with her friend Harper, a shifter who can turn into an animal. She and two other shifters help out Jade throughout the book, and they also have the assistance of Alek, another shifter who works for what shifters consider to be gods. This book is comprised of four novellas (Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, Pack of Lies, and Hunting Season), which form a chronological story. In each of the four stories, there is a main antagonist who is trying to accomplish something evil, while the threat of Samir lurks in the background. Even in the last story, Samir is not the bad guy that Jade and her friends are trying to stop.
I felt that more should have been added to some of the stories. Something bad happens, they find out why, they try to stop it and end eventually succeed, all while Jade is trying to strengthen her magic . The stories are fairly straightforward, and I think it would have been better if there was more of a plot twist per story. At the end of each story, many of its key points are concluded, leaving not very much room for an effective cliffhanger. I think that the romance in this book does not contribute much to the story, or the development of the characters. I like that this book is fast paced at each climax and that there are small bits of detective work done to figure out what is going on for both the characters and the reader. The reader can try to figure out what is happening before the story reveals it. There are also many references to TV shows, games, comics, movies, and video games that you will only understand if you know about the specific content.
While I enjoyed reading this book, I am not sure if I would read the sequels. Nothing happens in the book that makes me want to instantly have and read the next book. I did not love nor hate this book, but I think it would have been more enjoyable if it was targeted to a more specific age.