Series Review: Enchanted, Inc. books 3-5 by Shanna Swendson

Series Review: Enchanted, Inc. books 3-5 by Shanna SwendsonDamsel Under Stress by Shanna Swendson
Series: Enchanted Inc. #3
Published by Ballantine on May 1, 2007
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Humor, Fairy Tales
Pages: 306
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

To-do: Stop the bad guys. Rescue the wizard. Find the perfect outfit for New Year’s Eve.

At last, Owen Palmer, the dreamboat wizard at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has conjured up the courage to get Katie Chandler under the mistletoe at the office holiday party. But just when it looks like Katie has found her prince, in pops her inept fairy godmother, Ethelinda, to throw a wand into the works. Ethelinda’s timing couldn’t be worse. A plot hatched by MSI’s rogue ex-employees, Idris and his evil fairy gal pal Ari, threatens to expose the company’s secrets–and the very existence of magic itself. Even worse, it could also mean the end of Katie’s happily-ever-after.

Now Katie and Owen must work side by side (but alas, not cheek to cheek) to thwart the villains’ plans. Braving black-magic-wielding sorceresses, subway-dwelling dragons, lovelorn frog princes, and even the dreaded trip to meet Owen’s parents at Christmas, Katie and her beau are in a battle to beat Idris at his own sinister game. All mischief and matters of the heart will come to a head at a big New Year’s Eve gala, when the crystal ball will drop, champagne will pour, and Katie will find herself truly spellbound.

These titles really make my life tbh. Damsels are way more often under stress than in distress; this speaks to my workaday soul. Damsel Under Stress is an especially good installment because there’s a lot of Owen. #priorities

Owen and Katie are officially dating. HUZZAH! Only took two whole books. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they’re still very much Owen and Katie, which means that these adorable little dorks are moving their relationship along at the speed of sloth molasses. They’re both just so shy and so busy and so nice. Owen’s a bit less blushy as he settles in, which is both exciting and disappointing. Also, Owen has a cat named Loony, and I love her. HE IS PERFECT. They got to meet his foster parents for Christmas and it gave me many a feel.

In Damsel Under Stress, Katie’s beset by a Fairy Godmother. Katie’s not really sure why Ethelinda chose to come help her now that she finally has her dream boyfriend, and she’s not sure how to make Ethelinda go away because the “help” is often life-threatening and never romantic. My second favorite thing about this series is the way that Swendson plays with classic fairy tale tropes, and the fairy godmother is a great example. View Spoiler »

Damsel Under Stress is a strong addition to the series, but the ending is just cruel. Only read if you have book four handy. I must have been so pissed when I read these as they came out haha.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Series Review: Enchanted, Inc. books 3-5 by Shanna SwendsonDon't Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson
Series: Enchanted Inc. #4
Published by Ballantine on April 29, 2008
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Humor, Fairy Tales
Pages: 292
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Everything’s bigger in Texas–including romance, magic, and danger!

Katie Chandler has fled fast-paced Manhattan and returned home to a simpler life, working at her family’s feed-and-seed store in Cobb, Texas. In a painfully selfless gesture, Katie had left the sexy wizard Owen Palmer to battle his demons in the magical realm–after all, Katie just seemed to attract evil, which only made Owen’s job a lot harder. But now it seems that trouble has followed her home: Despite the fact that Merlin, Katie’s old boss at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantmen, (magically speaking), Katie begins to notice curious phenomena.

Cobb is being plagued by a series of inexplicable petty crimes and other devilish mischief, and after her experiences in Manhattan, Katie knows “unauthorized magic” when she sees it. As this new darkness strikes deep in the heart of Texas, Owen appears (literally) to investigate. Now Katie’s friends and family must show the bad guys why it’s bad luck to hex with Texas, while Katie and Owen combine their strengths like never before to uncover a sinister plot before evil takes root in the Lone Star State.

Rereading books I was obsessed with 10 years ago has been interesting. Some things I remember so strongly, but there are large things I just blocked out, like the fact that the publisher dropped the series at a very unacceptable point. Don’t Hex with Texas is very much not an ending to the story, and it speaks to how obsessed with it I was that I wasn’t left with feelings of massive loathing, though I do remember being really frustrated when book 5 didn’t come out a year later.

I need some more synonyms for fun and charming to describe this series, but it’s honestly just so fucking cozy and cute. I know that a lot of people aren’t into that, but it’s so rare to find a fantasy with intricate and clever world building that isn’t made of doom and gloom. There are so few books like the Enchanted, Inc. series, and, though it’s not perfect, it just makes me really fucking happy.

However, these books are torturously slow in the romance department. My ship is just so frustrating in the worst/best way. It’s so damn true to who Katie and Owen are, which is really shy and awkward and bad at romance and feelings in general. They’re also just so nice they keep trying to spare the other. I want to shake them and then lock them in a room together and not let them out until they sex each other up a bunch. That’s normal, right?

TBH I didn’t remember the plot of this particular book at all, and I was not excited about the return to Texas because Katie left Owen (hdu), and also just why. But Katie’s family is delightful, particularly her kooky badass of a grandma. Also, it’s really nice that Owen and Katie’s reunion isn’t melodrama-tastic. It’s very them basically. I cannot leave this ship because part of what makes it frustrating is what makes it so good. Curse it.

I’m excited to get into the books that I didn’t read before, mostly because I was already book blogging by the time Swendson published them and I didn’t have the time. NOW I MAKE THE TIME.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Enchanted, Inc. books 3-5 by Shanna SwendsonMuch Ado About Magic by Shanna Swendson
Series: Enchanted Inc. #5
Published by Author on August 15, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Humor
Pages: 298
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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three-stars

Katie Chandler is back in New York and at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. – and just in time. The city’s in the grip of a magical crime wave from spells that wizarding whiz Owen Palmer thinks look awfully familiar, and the rogue firm Spellworks is raising its profile in the magical world by selling protective amulets. It’s Katie’s job as the new director of marketing for MSI to fight this battle of public perception while Owen and the other wizards try to uncover what’s really going on.

What Katie doesn’t realize is that her idea to stage a showcase for MSI’s magical achievements is playing right into a devious plot more than three decades in the making. Now Katie has to do damage control that has nothing to do with marketing. To save the magical world, she’ll have to prove who the real enemy is, and doing that will require digging deeper into Owen’s mysterious past than he wants anyone to go. If she fails, she not only stands to lose a magical war, but she could also lose the man she loves.

Welp. What I’ve said to this point holds true, but I’ve also hit the line where I can’t take anymore. This series has such a great premise and a ship with so much promise, but it has failed to deliver for too long at this point. There are untagged spoilers ahead.

Much Ado About Magic came years after Don’t Hex with Texas and it’s a classic too little too late sort of scenario. The plot works, though it’s very much anticlimactic and obvious. The novel holds up, and it’s getting three stars because of that. There’s nothing specifically that’s wrong here, and it does most of the things right that the series has consistently done right.

However, Much Ado About Magic finishes off the overarching plot of the series. The big bad that was set up and very un-subtly brought in here has been defeated decisively. But the series does not end. That’s one problem. The other big fucking problem is that Katie and Owen have yet to do anything other than kiss. After five books. And, like, that does fit them a bit but honestly I don’t have the patience for this shit anymore. Katie hasn’t stated that she’s waiting for marriage or something (in fact, she’s commented that she’s open to sex), and Owen has given no sign of that either. In a paranormal romance series that was part of chick lit, to choose for the heroine and her boyfriend of several books to not have sex, despite being in love and very much of age (they’re in their late 20s and early 30s respectively) smacks of “clean” read bullshit.

Plus, I read some reviews of the next book in the series, because I was curious how on earth there was a next book, given how very much the plot resolved. View Spoiler » To try to retain any positivity I have for this series, I’m quitting it here.

I feel like this book deserves three stars, but I’m frustrated and sad that it didn’t deliver what I wanted. I’m going to write some fan fiction in my head to feel better.

Update: a couple days have passed, and I can be a bit more calm about this, but I’m leaving this review, in the full force of emotional betrayal to stand. This series is cute and fun, and I do want more fiction like this, but, if you’re looking for a romance series, this is not the way to go. Also, just let it end at book five.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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