Every now and then I pick up a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it is so very refreshing, like taking a sip of a cold drink on a hot day. Wicked Charms, by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton, is just such a book. The witty, intelligent, tongue-in-cheek style is a nod to the chick-lit, fantasy-adventure and action genres all smoothly rolled into one, and is wonderful fun, wonderfully funny and, in moments, wonderfully cringe-worthy.
Wicked Charms is the third book in a series about Lizzy and Diesel, treasure hunters – not of their own volition – who have been enlisted to find the Seven Stones of Power (each representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins). No ordinary treasure hunters, they are what are known as Unmentionables, that is they have special abilities. In this instalment of their story, they must procure the Stone of Avarice, the stone representing the sin greed. The stone is hidden amongst a century old pirate’s bounty – that of bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle – which was discovered, and then secreted away off the coast of New England.
Putting the quiet life she desperately wants on hold, Lizzy joins the sexy and mysterious Diesel on a hunt for the Stone of Avarice. Their search takes them into a world of pirates, billionaires, people who believe in the destined rebirth of the demon Mammon, and underground bootlegger’s tunnels. All the while they’re trying to keep up their not-quite-normal life of magical cupcakes, wannabe witches, Cat (Lizzy’s cat) and a monkey.
This is a fast-paced, easy read, with an enjoyable, if not entirely plausible plot, but it’s because the plot is just a little ridiculous that this book works so well. It’s silly and farcical and a little bit like a kids’ animation with villains and nemeses and you rooting for the good guys throughout. And then there’s the sexual tension that is set to boil between Lizzy and Diesel, who can’t have sex or one of them may lose their powers. So, to boot, this book is very, very sexy.
A fine example of the Urban Fantasy genre – where a fantasy narrative is set in a modern context – this is a witty, slapstick comedy with an enjoyable dusting of magic. Wicked Charms is the perfect choice when you just want to switch off and don’t want to think too hard. But, I would recommend reading at least the first book in the series before you come to this one so you have a bit of the background story, as there isn’t a whole lot of recap with this third instalment.