Review of Mere Mortal, by Katie Roman

Mere MortalI grabbed a copy of Katie Roman‘s Mere Mortal from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
Samantha Dunmore would be thrilled to live quietly with her dog. However, working as a social worker for vampires makes life anything but. When an ancient vampire brings trouble right to Samantha’s doorstep she must step out of her quiet life and into a world of villainous vampires, werewolves with hero complexes, and witches out to make mischief. Armed with attitude and a blessed baseball bat Samantha decides to get her life back to normal, or as normal as she can.

I’d call this an all right read, not horrible but not spectacular either. It’s a shame, too. Because, I think it really could have been, had the author not tried so hard to add so many literary ‘must haves,’ that the book just didn’t need and done a little more editing.

What I did like: I liked Samantha. She was smart and relatively savvy in the end. (I spent a while thinking she must be a bit dim to go along with everything and not report anything, but as she figures it out so did I and she wasn’t stupid.) It was a pleasant surprise. I liked some of the cheeky dialogue and that the closest thing the book had to a hero wasn’t allowed to sweep in and solve all her problems. I also liked the basic premise of the world everything occurs in.

What I didn’t like: To put it bluntly, it felt like the book didn’t actually have a point. Samantha runs around randomly getting attacked, then the book ends. The issue with the item causing all the ruckus is never solved. In fact, its never even addressed, which left me wondering why everything suddenly settled down. Or looking at it from the other end, if it was so easily settled why make such a big deal of it to begin with? Plus, if the baddie could so easily get someone into her office, as he did, why not just do that instead of harassing Samantha at all?

There was also a weak attempt at a romance that I could have done without, as it contributed nothing to the story. Even worse, it was essentially unsupported. I suppose the reader is supposed to assume it’s been simmering for a while, but that information isn’t actually there. The uncomfortable assumption is just the only way to make it work when it suddenly shows up.

This is one of those ‘must haves’ I referred to. The romance was not necessary for the progression of the plot; it distracted from the main mystery, wasn’t really fleshed out enough to be satisfying and, in the end, just became a little annoying in its half-assedness. It felt very much like the author added it in to make the book appeal to a broader or certain audience, not because it was a legitimate part of her story. 

Having said all that, it was still a relatively amusing read and I did enjoy the experience.

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