Katie Chandler Series Review (Enchanted, Inc)

Shanna Swendson's Katie Chandler seriesWhile Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted, Inc series actually includes seven titles, I only read the first five. So, the series review is admittedly incomplete as far as how the series ultimately resolves.

However, glancing at reviews of the final two titles doesn’t indicate that there is anything drastically different between them and the others, so I feel pretty confident with my overall comments.

A strength of the series is in the imaginative twist to often standard fantasy elements. There’s magic, fairies, spells, ogres, wizards, and (perhaps most fun of all) – gargoyles are real, and they don’t always stay in place. They’re all in what is otherwise a standard contemporary setting. Chick lit/light romance swirled together with fantasy – how fun!

I appreciated that the romance aspects never took over the entire story, and things are very tame. If you like more romance in your stories (or at least things to go beyond a few kisses), this may not be the series for you.

These aren’t great literature, but for amusing, nonchallenging reading I liked them enough to burn through five in a month or so. I only quit because I couldn’t get the sixth book quickly, and then was never motivated enough to try again for it.

Do I recommend it? Sure, if it sounds like something you’ll like, it’s entertaining. It’s not something I’d ever reread, or recommend you putting a lot of effort into obtaining. They’re great library books for when you want something really light – think beach reading!

Publisher’s Description of Book 1: Enchanted, Inc:
DON’T MESS WITH HEXES

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.

She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.

Series Details

Series Title: Katie Chandler
Author: Shanna Swendson
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
Individual Titles:

  1. Enchanted, Inc.Enchanted, Inc. (Katie Chandler, Book 1) by Shanna Swendson
  2. Once Upon StilettosOnce Upon Stilettos (Katie Chandler, Book 2) by Shanna Swendson
  3. Damsel Under StressDamsel Under Stress (Katie Chandler, Book 3) by Shanna Swendson
  4. Don’t Hex with TexasDon't Hex with Texas (Katie Chandler, Book 4) by Shanna Swendson
  5. Much Ado About MagicMuch Ado About Magic (Enchanted, Inc. Book 5) by Shanna Swendson
  6. No Quest for the WickedNo Quest for the Wicked (Enchanted, Inc. Book 6) by Shanna Swendson
  7. Kiss and SpellKiss and Spell (Enchanted, Inc. Book 7) by Shanna Swendson
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Series Review: Graceling Realm (Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue)

Graceling Realm series - Graceling, Fire, BitterblueSeries are wonderful things when you love a book, and discover that there are more out (or more to come). There’s always the chance though, that the later books won’t live up to the promise shown by the first book, which is always so disappointing.

In the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore, the first book, GracelingGraceling - book 1 in the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore, is by far my favorite. The original premise, the characters, the how-will-they-get-out-of-this questions? All worked, and all had me excited to read the other two books.

FireFire - book 2 in the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore actually takes prior to Graceling, and is only loosely connected. Unfortunately that connection ruins some of the surprise or tension that might otherwise be there. If you’ve read Graceling, you know what’s going on, and you know certain things that have to happen to set up events in the first book. Reading them out of publication order isn’t the answer either – then you spoil some of the surprise in the first book. Either way you’re going to be not surprised in one of the books.

As with Graceling, I enjoyed some of the characters in Fire quite a bit, as well as the setup. One of the big plot reveals seemed fairly obvious, so it lost out on a bit of a surprise. I would have happily spent more time in this world to learn more about Fire and her life.

BitterblueBitterblue - book 3 in the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore is clearly the final book, taking place about 8 years after Graceling ends. It somewhat wraps up the loose ends from Fire as well, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you’ve read Graceling first. Overall though, I found it rather disappointing. I know Bitterblue is young, but she seems foolish and her relatives/advisers seem oblivious to the challenges that surround her. The plot drags and after finishing it, I’m struggling to recall what all happened in it. So dull, and such a let down.

Heads-up: books are classified as young adult titles, and I’d likely keep them for older teens only. There’s a fair amount of violence and brutality, and some sexual content, especially in the first books. Nothing is described in detail, but it’s either treated fairly casually, or is non-consensual, so I wouldn’t cavalierly hand these off to younger readers.

Would I recommend these to just anyone? No, probably not. If you’re a die-hard fantasy fan looking for a new series, you may enjoy these. But if you’re a die-hard fantasy fan, you’ve likely already heard of these. I might cautiously suggest GracelingGraceling - book 1 in the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore or FireFire - book 2 in the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore for new to fantasy readers. The world-building is thinner than some fantasy tales, but that might be a plus to someone new to the genre who doesn’t want to dive into a super complex setting. In other words, you can finish the book and not feel like you have to read 10 more to finish the story.

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