2.5 out of 3 stars
License to Ensorcell is the first installment of the Nola O’Grady series. As with any first book in a series, I expect to see a lot of world building and character development. I didn’t really get either and the whole book was not what I expected.
This is my first book by Katherine Kerr, so I have no previous experience regarding her writing style or other works, although I hear that her Deverry series is quite popular. License to Ensorcell though was, at times, a confusing read for me. It had a lot of the elements that I typically like in a book; a pit of paranormal, some romance, strong female and male lead characters and an element of fantasy to it, but they just didn’t seem to work well together, often being
Nola O’Grady is an agent with a secret organization that keeps track of and investigates instances of chaos. I wasn’t sure if chaos was a thing or an organization, since the spelling often changed throughout the book (chaos vs. CHAOS). She is joined by Ari Nathan, a secretive agent from Israel, to solve the crime.
As the story evolves, I wasn’t sure if the author was poking fun at different cultural items or attempting to make a statement. There is Nola’s insecurity about her weight, her eating, the political atmosphere of the Middle East, and her strange and dysfunctional family. There is just a lot going on and I just couldn’t get a clear read on the tone of the book. Another annoying trait was the overuse of acronyms. There was one for every psychic thing done and it was just very hard to follow the story when I had to continually thing about what that acronym meant. I understand from working in the government that they do have an acronym for everything, but from a readability point of view it got old really quick.
The overall story wasn’t bad, it just didn’t stand out for me, mainly due to struggling through the text. The story’s pace was inconsistent and did not flow easily. In particular, the sex scenes were awkward; one minute Nola and Ari would be talking and then they were in bed. It just didn’t work for me.
I’m not exactly sure what I will do with this series. I do have the next one on my wish list. I may give it a try (or not) depending on my mood, but if there isn’t some significant improvements in it this is probably a series I could do without.