The Sunday Magazine: The Guild Codex: Spellbound Series by Annette Marie

As we are now a few weeks away from Memorial Day and the beginning of the summer I am starting to cast around for new series to read. One reason I like them when they are new is the author has generally submitted three or four manuscripts before the first one is published. It means the books come quickly. So even though it has only been a year I can find two or three entries to take up my lazy summer days. If I hadn’t made the mistake of trying to read just a little of the first book in Annette Marie’s new series “The Guild Codex: Spellbound” I would have these in my queue. Instead I was hooked and blitzed my way through the three books that have been published over the last year or so.

Ms. Marie has been an author of Young Adult urban fantasy. With “The Guild Codex” she is turning to a more grown-up version within the genre. Each book has a title with a noun and a cocktail. Book one is called “Three Mages and a Margarita”. In that book we meet Tori a down-on-her luck human looking for a job. She goes to a bar to apply for a bartending job. Instead of an interview she is asked to work a shift. As she steps behind the rail, she realizes this is no regular bar. It is populated by supernatural beings. No place left to turn she treats them as she would anyone else; with a sharp-tongued disdain. By the time she has ended her shift she has shown she can survive as the bartender at The Guild Codex. Tori is the stand-in for the reader as she needs what is happening explained to her. This is a common urban fantasy trope. It works here because Tori also reacts appropriately to what she describes. I like the casual way she uses profanity. It reminds me of the television character Veronica Mars. Another reason this series drew me in.

Annette Marie

Ms. Marie keeps the books moving at a fast pace. She has a well-conceived magic system. Tori has a single romantic interest among her new-found companions; and she thinks her way out of the situations she is placed in. Even though there is some romance these books are more like action movies. Think “Fast and Furious” level with about the same amount of romance. If you read a lot of urban fantasy many of the plot points will be familiar. Enough so that things that might be plot twists for first-time readers will not be for one who enjoys the genre. What makes me want to return for succeeding books is the characters and the words they are given to speak. The Guild Codex: Spellbound succeeds on all those levels.

All those qualities also make it perfect vacation reading. The fourth book will be out any day now. Which means if you need something to take with you over Memorial Day weekend these should fit the bill.

Mark Behnke