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Gutter Mage

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Fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior. In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s f Fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior. In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s feared by even the most magically adept: Rosalind Featherstone, a.k.a. the Gutter Mage. But as Roz delves into the circumstances behind the child’s disappearance, she uncovers an old enemy from her traumatic past and a long-brewing plot that could lead to the death of countless innocents, as well as the complete collapse of Penadorian society itself!


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Fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior. In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s f Fantasy and hardboiled noir in this fast-paced, twisting tale of magic, mystery, and a whole lot of unruly behavior. In a kingdom where magic fuels everything from street lamps to horseless carriages, the mage guilds of Penador wield power equal to the king himself. So when Lord Edmund’s infant son is kidnapped by the ruthless Alath Guild, he turns to the one person who’s feared by even the most magically adept: Rosalind Featherstone, a.k.a. the Gutter Mage. But as Roz delves into the circumstances behind the child’s disappearance, she uncovers an old enemy from her traumatic past and a long-brewing plot that could lead to the death of countless innocents, as well as the complete collapse of Penadorian society itself!

30 review for Gutter Mage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kayla (krakentoagoodbook)

    I thought this book was just a blast! I didn't realize until after finishing the book that this author has published under the name Jon Skovron before. I've actually read some of these books and enjoyed them, so I'm not too surprised that I liked the writing style again here. Generally, this is very easy to read and well paced with lots of exciting action. It does remind me more of an urban fantasy type of tone with this detective case and setting, so I was very happy about that since I love urb I thought this book was just a blast! I didn't realize until after finishing the book that this author has published under the name Jon Skovron before. I've actually read some of these books and enjoyed them, so I'm not too surprised that I liked the writing style again here. Generally, this is very easy to read and well paced with lots of exciting action. It does remind me more of an urban fantasy type of tone with this detective case and setting, so I was very happy about that since I love urban fantasy! This book does have some darker themes at times with elements like possession and essentially torture. There's also an interesting mystery overall, and I definitely did not predict the way things turned out. I had (well, still have I guess) suspicions about the world that seem to be correct, so I definitely want to learn more about this in future books. I really liked the magic here as well. Mages are generally limited to enchanting things or enacting magic after carving symbols into something. Another branch of magic users essentially commune with spirits and can channel their own spirits for purposes like astral projection (and more). Roz is special though - she has sigils carved into her hands that allow her to channel fire. This seemed like a nice variety of magic going on, and I definitely want to know more about it (especially with Roz!). I really liked Roz overall. She's snarky, blunt, and foul-mouthed, and I found her to be highly entertaining. She's had some trauma in her past and is trying to work through it. Even though she can come across as harsh and certainly leans into violence, I think she is a good person deep down inside who wants to help (and hey, if she can get booze, tobacco, or money out of it, all the better). She works with her partner and friend Lysander, and I really liked their friendship. I have FEELINGS about how things turn out between them. Their bond is very important to Roz because he's her best friend, and she really only accepts this case to begin with because she knows it's important to him. Of course, we also meet up with assorted other individuals along the way. Some of them I ended up really liking despite feeling hesitant to begin with, while others initially seemed alright, but they've maybe made some poor decisions or aren't as good as they seem. We do have some LGBTQ+ representation here as well. Roz seems to be bi, and there's a character who may be transgender (though I don't think this is explicitly confirmed). There's actually a conversation that comes up where one person asks if this character is a woman or a man in women's clothes, and the other characters take the time to explain why it's not polite to ask about someone's gender identity and to educate him. I thought this was nicely incorporated into the story in a very natural way. I'm so excited about the way things end up here, and I will absolutely keep reading this series. I'd highly recommend it, especially if you like urban fantasy such as The Dresden Files. I received a copy of this for review from the publisher via NetGalley - thank you! All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    Thank you so much to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed this story! This was a fun, almost Dresden-like feeling mystery, but set in an all-fantasy world, and I ended up liking it immensely. The humor and the characterizations were entertaining, the mystery was one that I (for the most part) did not see coming, although certain parts of it were slightly predictable (but even those twists had twists that I didn' Thank you so much to Gallery Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed this story! This was a fun, almost Dresden-like feeling mystery, but set in an all-fantasy world, and I ended up liking it immensely. The humor and the characterizations were entertaining, the mystery was one that I (for the most part) did not see coming, although certain parts of it were slightly predictable (but even those twists had twists that I didn't really anticipate). The magic system was one that I had not really read before, and was done in a way that was interesting (and philosophical at the same time). Roz was a very rough-around-the-edges lead, and was dealing with quite a bit of trauma from things that happened in her past, but when it came down to it, she would do anything for the people she cared about. Her relationship with Lysander and Orlando were two of her most redeeming qualities, and made a lot of her more unlikeable traits easier to handle. Overall, I really enjoyed the mystery and the plot twists that occurred throughout this story, and I gave it a four out of 5 stars. I am greatly looking forward to more books from this author and I hope there will be more to this series!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    Gutter Mage sets the reader up in a world with mages who can harness spirits to provide conveniences and comforts such as sky scrapers, horseless carriages, street lights and beyond. Rosalind Featherstone, an almost mage know as the Gutter Mage, gets hired on to a job to find the missing child of a lord. Along with her partner, Lysander, they discover something bigger going on and are faced with the task of stopping a rogue mage guild who wants to change life as they know it. I really enjoyed thi Gutter Mage sets the reader up in a world with mages who can harness spirits to provide conveniences and comforts such as sky scrapers, horseless carriages, street lights and beyond. Rosalind Featherstone, an almost mage know as the Gutter Mage, gets hired on to a job to find the missing child of a lord. Along with her partner, Lysander, they discover something bigger going on and are faced with the task of stopping a rogue mage guild who wants to change life as they know it. I really enjoyed this novel and the author has set it up to be the stepping stone in what I assume will be a series of magical mystery solving adventures. Rosalind (Roz) is a snarky fun character to follow and is just lovable and broken enough to make for some fun exchanges between characters. The world of mages and harnessing of spirits is intriguing and I feel like we just touch the surface of this magic system in the Gutter Mage. I ultimately was left satisfied with the story pacing after only one real lull while circumstances were starting to pull together just before all the pieces of the mystery started to click. 4 stars - would recommend this read to anyone who enjoys a light magical mystery/adventure. Review based on digital copy of Uncorrected Proof from Net Galley and the publisher.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Em Meurer (emcanread)

    Gutter Mage by J. S. Kelley ⚡️ I was provided an e-ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 🌟: 2 / 5 📚: When the son of a Lord is kidnapped and all clues point to a secretive circle of mages, a magical outcast is hired to solve the crime. 💭: To be completely blunt, I really did not like this book. I requested this book because I was like, oh cool, a fantasy noir mystery, let me give this a shot. However, I should have let the bad cover art be my gut check on this because Gutter Mage by J. S. Kelley ⚡️ I was provided an e-ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review 🌟: 2 / 5 📚: When the son of a Lord is kidnapped and all clues point to a secretive circle of mages, a magical outcast is hired to solve the crime. 💭: To be completely blunt, I really did not like this book. I requested this book because I was like, oh cool, a fantasy noir mystery, let me give this a shot. However, I should have let the bad cover art be my gut check on this because the inside made my cringe even harder than the outside did. The writing tried so, so hard to be edgy and dry that it came off stilted, and I think that the tone was juuuust the tip of the iceberg for me. I get that a sarcastic antihero is a trendy lead to have right now, but I think that this book almost proves how hard it is to make this archetype actually succeed at being likeable but still not a good person. Not that it doesn’t try, so many elements that could possibly contribute to them being complex are brought to the table and are just kind of left there. While Roz isn’t the perfect lead, which is kind of the whole point, they’re just an actively boring character who can basically be boiled down into a bullet pointed list of traits that are never truly shown in a way that makes her dynamic or even likeable. And in hindsight, a few hours after finishing the book, I’m not entirely sure what Roz’s motivations even were? I think they were to have money to pay rent and to abandon their nickname of “Gutter Mage,” and truth be told, I don’t honestly know what ANYONE’S motivations were in this book. And not to have an entire section of this review be spoilers, but like, ahem— (view spoiler)[ I just really want to know what the fuck was up with like the entire back third of this book being what was essentially a really poorly thrown out there villain speech? My biggest pet peeve in any book, but in mysteries especially, is when foreshadowing, redirects, and lead-ins are so poorly done that the end feels out of left field, and I think that this very well might be the worst of the worst I’ve read. Usually in mysteries, you can kind of give the author wiggle room because you can make assumptions based on how people act in the real world, but because this is a fantasy book, the bigger what and why of the mystery was worldbuilding that is genuinely NEVER explained. Like, not to put this book on blast completely, but I actually felt like I was dumb for not grasping plot that I don’t think was actually there to begin with (actually after writing that sentence, that is what I’m doing because I don’t think there were any redeeming factors for me?). What this book comes down to is that the main character’s former mentor assaulted and used her to try a new type of magic that gives her power instead of the normal magic that everyone in this universe has access to that requires study and practice. In doing this, he summoned a spirit that inhabits her body without her or the spirit being aware of it, and he dies in the process. THEN his ghost tries to usher in the apocalypse 15 years later by putting a who-dun-it mystery into play to get said former student to go to where his scheme is taking place. The teacher recruits her best friend slash hot sidekick to get her to go along with it, and then when the best friend slash hot sidekick’s betrayal is realized, he just disappears. Like, he is not in the rest of the book, and there is no explanation until the end when the main character considers that she has no idea what happened to him. Anyway, the reason that literally all of this went down, and is somehow extremely quickly foiled by one person, despite it being a plot that has been in play for FIFTEEN YEARS, is because the mentor’s ghost fell in love with the spirit that may or may not (it is NEVER CONFIRMED) be inhabiting the main character as he summoned it and immediately died. This book made me feel like I was losing my grip on my sanity because I could not make it make sense or care about any of the characters, and I just have come to the conclusion that it is a terrible book. (hide spoiler)] Another thing that probably only bothered me very specifically is within the concept of, the main character, Roz’s ability to control fire. The fact that she uses it in combat and is able to reduce an enemy to ashes in seconds was presented so early in the book that it absolutely, truly threw me off for a good chunk of the book. Like, the fact that it takes multiple HOURS at approximately 1800ºF to cremate a body, and the story expects me to just roll with the fact that this character JUST SO HAPPENS to get fire even hotter than that from their hands? This book is 100% someone’s two player character DND game, but even DND has a fragmentary grasp on the laws of physics, which is much more than this book does. Again, I hated this book. It includes my noir mystery pet peeve where the villain just gives away their whole plan at the very end and throws in info that barely makes sense and reminds me of creative writing that I did in middle school, as well as my other pet peeve, which is a hot but can’t be bothered woman who's whole character reads exactly like every woman in every popular fantasy novel written by a white man. Anyway, I guess the TL;DR of this book is that you don’t have to waste your time reading books with bad covers if you don’t want to. The cover is there to sell you on the book, and sometimes it’s pretty telling of the content inside too.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gyalten Lekden

    Somewhere between detective thriller and the seedy back alley of a renaissance fair, Gutter Mage starts with a bar brawl and doesn’t slow down. A robust and exciting world, a slew of engaging characters, a well-crafted mystery, and lots of whisky fuel this novel that is a delight to read and hard to put down once you start. Everything about this novel is fun, and streaked through with enough creativity to keep it from getting lost in some of the tropes it deals in and plays with. For instance, th Somewhere between detective thriller and the seedy back alley of a renaissance fair, Gutter Mage starts with a bar brawl and doesn’t slow down. A robust and exciting world, a slew of engaging characters, a well-crafted mystery, and lots of whisky fuel this novel that is a delight to read and hard to put down once you start. Everything about this novel is fun, and streaked through with enough creativity to keep it from getting lost in some of the tropes it deals in and plays with. For instance, the world isn’t wildly unique, showcasing both the gritty and the pampered sides of a pretty common fantasy realm infused with, but not entirely dependent on, magic. Yet we learn of other countries that have championed an industrial revolution instead of magic, and their horseless carriages run through coal power instead of magical sigils. We learn a magic system that is unique and only just barely explored, allowing a whole lot more world to be discovered. And what could be a stock realm instead becomes more complicated, a backdrop where class and race can be explored in interesting, understated ways. Similarly, the characters could be archetypes – the hot-headed, foul-mouthed, powerful-and-usually-underestimated magic chick; the giant hulk of an accomplice that is better at fighting than anything else but has a heart of gold; the nerdy ex who can stop the need to talk about feelings, and so on. Yet Kelley manages to keep all of them interesting, fresh, and I found myself invested in numerous ancillary characters as well as the primary few. (If we don’t get some novellas about the past and present adventures of the owner of a certain roadside inn it would be a damned shame!) Even the mystery/thriller keeps you on your seat, some things but easy enough to guess pretty early on but other things still catching you by surprise along the journey. Kelley takes elements we are used to and comfortable with and tweaks them just enough to simultaneously pull us in with an immediate sense of familiarity and also constantly disrupting expectations. Additionally, the story is replete with examples of remarkable inclusivity, in terms of genders, sexualities, race, and other areas that marginalized communities often find themselves under-represented in popular culture. Nothing is subtle, and characters are even called out on occasion for small-minded views, but it also isn’t showy or heavy handed, it is just the world these characters live in, and it is refreshing and a great example of what art imitating life—even fantastical art where trapped astral spirits are what keep the street lights glowing—should look like. So, the characters and the story were great, and the writing itself was, like I said, simply fun to read. We stay in the mind of the primary character the entire time, but she certainly isn’t boring. And the very nature of a detective mystery/crime noir is well-served by a single point of view, keeping us guessing about the goings on of all the suspects, or other characters, as it were. The chapters are all pretty short, with none of them coasting but all of them pushing the action forward, either literally or emotionally. The result is that the writing is pretty fast paced, which really parallels the character and the nature of the story, so it all works. Once in a while it might have been nice to luxuriate in some of the emotions and experiences, but as our main character was particularly trying to avoid dealing with her trauma it didn’t feel out of place that we didn’t take the time. The story opens up a world that is just absolutely begging to tell more stories, with lots still left to explore in terms of character and the world itself, especially the nuances of its magical system, its socio-political class structure, and how those things intersect. So I am hoping that we get the chance to learn and spend more time with these characters in future entries to the series, and that means I wasn’t too disappointed in the areas where I felt like there could be a little more exploration, development, or exposition. This isn’t for everyone, there is certainly a decent amount of profanity and also a heavy dose of (sometimes cavalier) violence. However there is a lot of richness to be found in this world and these characters, and if you are willing to accept them on their terms you will be thrilled with the adventure they take you on and will look forward to future exploits. I want to thank NetGalley and Saga Press, who gave me a complimentary eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    9/22/2021 4.5 stars. Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 9/23/2021 I want to sit J S Kelley down, look into their eyes and assure them that the world desperately needs a Gutter Mage series. Okay, so maybe by "the world" I mean "I" but this book was just so much fantastic fun! Crossing an original fantasy concept with a hardboiled mystery with distinct Western elements, spiced up with excellent repartee and a bisexual heroine with equal amounts self-awareness and depth, this book just abso 9/22/2021 4.5 stars. Full review tk at TheFrumiousConsortium.net. 9/23/2021 I want to sit J S Kelley down, look into their eyes and assure them that the world desperately needs a Gutter Mage series. Okay, so maybe by "the world" I mean "I" but this book was just so much fantastic fun! Crossing an original fantasy concept with a hardboiled mystery with distinct Western elements, spiced up with excellent repartee and a bisexual heroine with equal amounts self-awareness and depth, this book just absolutely dazzled me. Our heroine Rosalind (named like all the other characters after the Shakespearean) is better known by the disparaging moniker Gutter Mage, tho no one's ever called her that to her face twice. Earning a living as a fixer with the help of her childhood friend and business partner Lysander, she accepts a lucrative job that requires more than the usual amount of discretion. Lord Edmund of House Ariel has recently become a proud parent, but his son has been kidnapped in what looks like an elaborate plan hatched by some very skilled mages, presumably of the upstart new Alath Guild. As there's nothing more Rosalind enjoys than sticking it to some Guild Mages -- and since Lysander really wants to build up his nest egg so that he and his lovely wife Portia can finally start expanding their family -- this looks like the perfect case for them, with Lysander's brawn and social skills backing up Roz's considerable magical capabilities. But something smells fishy almost from the very start, and the further Roz and Lysander investigate, the greater the likelihood that they're being lied to, and that the mastermind behind all this is the person Roz least wants to see in all the world. I don't want to say too much more about the plot because there are so many excellent surprises, but I can say that it thoughtfully examines trauma and rage in ways that are miles ahead of most genre literature. Roz's struggle to come to terms with her past and with her swiftly tilting present are written with honesty and empathy, and with few easy answers. The only place that the writing ever faltered was in the climax, I felt, which was given shorter shrift than it deserved. I wanted to revel in all Roz's feelings and observations, I wanted to stay and examine her every move in rich detail. While the relatively fast pace was in keeping with most of the rest of the book, I felt this was a missed opportunity to really gut punch the reader with the culmination of all the emotion that had led us to this point. But that is literally the only criticism I have of this terrific book. Roz is so complicated and real, and the stuff she goes through so engrossing that I am desperate to read more of her and this fantasy world as it grapples with the ramifications of what she uncovers in the course of her investigations. Deep, diverse and just downright delightful, Gutter Mage has been one of the year's best surprise discoveries for me. More, more, more please! Gutter Mage by J. S. Kelley was published September 21 2021 by Gallery/Saga Press and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alyshia

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc. And thank you, J.S. Kelley, for this masterpiece. I teared up reading the “Acknowledgments”. I couldn’t imagine not getting the chance to read Roz’s story. Yaaaaas.!! Sold.! That’s all that needs said… this book was flipping fantastic. I’m ordering myself a copy right after writing this review. Roz was an amazing character. All the characters were interesting. The plot wasn’t super definitive or multi-layered. There was a trail to follow, bu Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this arc. And thank you, J.S. Kelley, for this masterpiece. I teared up reading the “Acknowledgments”. I couldn’t imagine not getting the chance to read Roz’s story. Yaaaaas.!! Sold.! That’s all that needs said… this book was flipping fantastic. I’m ordering myself a copy right after writing this review. Roz was an amazing character. All the characters were interesting. The plot wasn’t super definitive or multi-layered. There was a trail to follow, but it didn’t lead you on a big chase. But it worked out well. I’m fairly certain this was a standalone, so you wouldn’t have wanted something convoluted and all over the place. The magic was interesting. I love mages and sigil stuff. The story ended at a good place, but I think ill always want more. I’d love more “Gutter Mage” adventures. I want to know what happens with the spirits. I even want to get more on Lysander. It was just one of those amazing reads that don’t let you go.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    I thought this sounded interesting and thought I’d give it a try. I was immediately drawn into this book, and my interest didn’t really wane the whole book. I admit that this genre wasn’t exactly my favorite (sort of set in a sort of past?), but I set that aside to enjoy this book. Roz is a very complex character which I came to understand better when information comes to light later in the book. This explains some of the hardness of her character one way or the other (this will make sense when I thought this sounded interesting and thought I’d give it a try. I was immediately drawn into this book, and my interest didn’t really wane the whole book. I admit that this genre wasn’t exactly my favorite (sort of set in a sort of past?), but I set that aside to enjoy this book. Roz is a very complex character which I came to understand better when information comes to light later in the book. This explains some of the hardness of her character one way or the other (this will make sense when you read it). Add to it the great writing and unique universe, this gritty noir-like urban fantasy kept my interest. I’d like to learn more about the characters and Roz in future installments. Recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darcia Helle

    Read Gutter Mage if you like a foul-mouthed, funny, badass female lead. For the record, I loved her. This is fantasy, set in kingdoms run by royalty, and guilds of mages with a variety of magic. It’s also perfectly executed noir fiction featuring a complex mystery, with a strong helping of action and adventure. The cast of characters are all well developed, interesting, unique people. I was totally hooked from beginning to end. This book deserves so much more attention than it’s currently receiving. Read Gutter Mage if you like a foul-mouthed, funny, badass female lead. For the record, I loved her. This is fantasy, set in kingdoms run by royalty, and guilds of mages with a variety of magic. It’s also perfectly executed noir fiction featuring a complex mystery, with a strong helping of action and adventure. The cast of characters are all well developed, interesting, unique people. I was totally hooked from beginning to end. This book deserves so much more attention than it’s currently receiving. I listened to this on audio, via Scribd, which I highly recommend. The narrator embodies the lead character’s personality. So well done!

  10. 5 out of 5

    queen of narnia

    I thought this said "Glitter Mage" at first ...Alas I thought this said "Glitter Mage" at first ...Alas

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I really enjoyed this book, and I hope it’s not the last we see of Roz. Fun, twisted, dark, and full of wit. My kind of book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Gutter Mage is an engaging debut noir mystery/fantasy mashup by J.S. Kelley. Released 21 Sept 2021 by Simon & Schuster on their Gallery/Saga imprint, it's 336 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is one of my better speculativ Originally posted on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Gutter Mage is an engaging debut noir mystery/fantasy mashup by J.S. Kelley. Released 21 Sept 2021 by Simon & Schuster on their Gallery/Saga imprint, it's 336 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is one of my better speculative fiction genre picks so far this year. There's so much to like here. The protagonist is a smart but flawed outsider who happens to also be a fire-wielding mage, intelligent, (mostly) loyal, operating within her own moral code. It's got shades of a buddy-cop adventure with her best friend, a brawny fighter with a big sword and bigger muscles who's always there to back her up. They're trying to stave off a local mage guild and prevent them from unleashing the apocalypse in the company of her ex, an uptight sort-of-cleric who's on the inter-guild council. The world building is superlative, immersive and plausible. There are lots of philosophical questions to ponder and the writing is really really good. The dialogue is rapid fire and sarcastic (but not annoyingly so). There were several places during the read which actually surprised a laugh out of me. There is some graphic violence (she's a *fire* mage and can't always control her flames and random people just keep attacking her), as well as some light sexual content. Main character Roz is bisexual and I liked that it wasn't a big deal in the text. Sensitive readers should be aware there are some content concerns: non-consensual imprisonment, body horror, discussions of infant loss and maternal mutilation, possession, smoking, alcohol abuse, and mental health issues. All those aside (and they're all in context), this is a genuinely funny book and extremely well written. Five stars. I really really want to know what's next for Roz and co. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brenna Popejoy

    Thank you Goodreads for the ARC giveaway! I'm having a hard time figuring out how I feel about this book. The world that J.S. Kelley has created is magnificent. It's unique (which can be hard to find) and it's just brilliant. So if I was rating the world Kelley wrote then this would be a five star review for sure. However, when it comes to the characters I have to admit I didn't like any of them. I'm not sure if Kelley was trying to write Roz as an anti hero or if Roz was supposed to come off as Thank you Goodreads for the ARC giveaway! I'm having a hard time figuring out how I feel about this book. The world that J.S. Kelley has created is magnificent. It's unique (which can be hard to find) and it's just brilliant. So if I was rating the world Kelley wrote then this would be a five star review for sure. However, when it comes to the characters I have to admit I didn't like any of them. I'm not sure if Kelley was trying to write Roz as an anti hero or if Roz was supposed to come off as extra tough because she didn't care about anyone or anything. Unfortunately, it fell short for either of those options. She just came across as a horrible character. And the side characters were pretty boring to me. I also found the relationships to be weird in this book. Romantic and physical relationships were constantly talked about and referenced but there was no romance. I guess I'm just used to books either having romance or if there's no romance then relationships are just in the background and not really acknowledged much. I just kept waiting for something to happen since they kept talking about emotional and physical relationships. It might not bother anyone else but it just kind of confused me. I'm going to give this book 3 stars as just kind of an average between the 5 star world and the 1 or 2 star characters.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jewelrymuse

    Received an ARC via NetGalley and publisher for a honest review. J. S. Kelley has imaged a world of dark fantasy, magic, and secrets worthy of the best action and detective stories I have come across. A world of murder, mayhem, good versus evil that you often do not know what is right or wrong in the given situation. Penador is a world that is held together by magic that controls spirits for running all kinds of amenities from a cooking burner to buildings reaching into the sky. Where the mage gui Received an ARC via NetGalley and publisher for a honest review. J. S. Kelley has imaged a world of dark fantasy, magic, and secrets worthy of the best action and detective stories I have come across. A world of murder, mayhem, good versus evil that you often do not know what is right or wrong in the given situation. Penador is a world that is held together by magic that controls spirits for running all kinds of amenities from a cooking burner to buildings reaching into the sky. Where the mage guilds along with royals may hide a secret that can destroy everything. The heroine, Rosalind “Roz” Featherstone, who is sometimes likable and other times abrasive, suffered a traumatic event when she was attending a mage academy that changed her life so drastically that she was labeled “Gutter Mage”. A name that she really hates to be called. She becomes, after some fifteen years later, a brash, sometimes vulgar, feared, dangerous, pipe smoking drinker who with a childhood friend are hired to solve who is behind a break-in and kidnapping but during the investigation find more than they bargained for. Roz must then decide if it is right or wrong to save the whole of Penador from utter destruction at the cost of saving millions by sacrificing many thousands. If you are looking for a good read that is well paced with elements of fantasy, magic, action, mystery, and drama this story I believe will fit the bill.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Wafflepirates

    *Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review* Gutter mage wasn't quite what I expected it would be, it was so much better. Reminiscent of The Dresden Files with the feel of a DnD campaign, this book is about Roz, the so-called Gutter Mage (a title she hates). Once a mage, now an arcanist, Roz and her partner Lysander take odd jobs around town before seemingly catching a break when a local lord hires them to find his kidnapped heir. As thes *Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review* Gutter mage wasn't quite what I expected it would be, it was so much better. Reminiscent of The Dresden Files with the feel of a DnD campaign, this book is about Roz, the so-called Gutter Mage (a title she hates). Once a mage, now an arcanist, Roz and her partner Lysander take odd jobs around town before seemingly catching a break when a local lord hires them to find his kidnapped heir. As these stories normally go, the job is a lot more complicated than they first thought, and will force Roz to deal with ex-boyfriends and unwanted blasts from the past in the search for a paycheck (and maybe saving the world). Roz is a wonderful character, fitting a lot of the tropes of your standard hard-boiled noir detective with the added bonus of fire magic. Roz can be very abrasive to the people around her, but I never found her to be an unlikeable character. Lysander and Orlando (the ex-boyfriend) are also interesting characters, and there's a full cast of characters that seem fascinating, though insubstantial and I hope that some of them get fleshed out in future books. There's more mystery and investigation/detective work involved than I originally thought there'd be, but it taking place in a fantasy setting made it feel very fresh and exciting to read. This book offers a great genre blend of mystery and fantasy, and is a strong set up to what promises to be an really fun series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marlene

    Originally published at Reading Reality Is it still urban fantasy if it isn’t set in our world? That’s a question I’m still very much puzzling over after finishing Gutter Mage, because this story has all the gritty, noir feels of urban fantasy, even if the cities of Drusiel and Monaxa are in a place called Penador and nowhere in the world we know. Not that Drusiel, in particular, doesn’t remind me of other gritty fantasy cities, like Kirkwall and Ankh-Morpork, places where trouble brews in back al Originally published at Reading Reality Is it still urban fantasy if it isn’t set in our world? That’s a question I’m still very much puzzling over after finishing Gutter Mage, because this story has all the gritty, noir feels of urban fantasy, even if the cities of Drusiel and Monaxa are in a place called Penador and nowhere in the world we know. Not that Drusiel, in particular, doesn’t remind me of other gritty fantasy cities, like Kirkwall and Ankh-Morpork, places where trouble brews in back alleys, disreputable taverns, and in the halls of power and powerful guilds alike. The story of the Gutter Mage begins in the only disreputable tavern that has not yet barred Arcanist Rosalind Featherstone from its dingy but not disgusting premises. Roz is the Gutter Mage herself – but she’ll deck you if you call her that. Or set you on fire. Or both. Probably both. Roz is a mercenary, an investigator into magic gone wrong, and a woman who seems to be doing her best to destroy herself one brain cell at a time. She is most emphatically NOT a mage – because the powerful mage guilds threw her out on her ear when her mentor abused her in the worst way possible. He turned her into a weapon of fire. And she burned him to death for it, along with every other mage who participated in the ritual that put fire literally in her hands. But someone has kidnapped a nobleman’s newborn baby for a magical ritual that isn’t supposed to exist. Then again, when Roz investigates, it starts to look like the baby doesn’t exist either. And on Roz’ other burning hand, it looks a lot like her former mentor is alive, and well, and planning to enact a ritual that is supposed to be a myth and an allegory, and not a real ritual at all. Just like the one that put the fire in Roz’ hands. This time, her old nemesis has much bigger plans. He’s not just going to screw up one person’s life – he’s going to bring down the magic that keeps the entire kingdom going. If Roz doesn’t stop him first. Escape Rating A-: Gutter Mage is just a surprise and a dark delight of a book. I got captured by Roz’ bar brawl at the very beginning, and just could not read fast enough from there. The story is a blend of dark and gritty urban fantasy, mixed with just a bit of dark and gritty sword and sorcery – although way more sorcery than swords – and a scope that keeps getting bigger and broader even as the story tightens its focus on Roz, her self-destructive tendencies, her property destroying talent – or curse – and her need to put a stop to the man who used her and broke her. This is a story that starts out small, as many urban fantasies do. Roz and her business partner and best friend Lysander are hired to solve a kidnapping and retrieve the victim – an infant who is so new that his mother hasn’t healed from his birth yet. The case looks easy. They even have a suspect for the crime – a mage guild who claims that the baby is integral to a ritual they plan to perform. Except that every person they interview contradicts everyone else. There’s too much that just doesn’t make sense. It’s all so obvious that it’s obvious that it’s a setup. A setup that Roz figures out part of relatively easily. It’s just that Roz should have remembered that old saying about when something is too good to be true, and you’re not sure who the chump is, it’s you. But the reveals are what make this thing so much fun. And where the story expands in scope. Because Roz learns that she might not be who she thinks she is. Also that the guilds and the powers that be are even more evil than she believed they were, even though she starts the story certain that they are all pretty much the WORST. The first thing is life altering. The second might be world destroying – and the world might even deserve it. On top of those revelations, there’s one more, the knowledge that, from a certain twisted point of view – that of Roz’ former mentor – it’s all Roz’ fault, for reasons that I wish had been a bit less clichéd. But the stakes ended up being so damn high that it doesn’t really matter. Except to Roz. Gutter Mage reminded me a lot of The Blacktongue Thief and The Moonsteel Crown. Both have that same dark feel to them, both of them also feature protagonists who are more antihero than hero, and both revolve around self-deceptive characters who need to save the world anyway – even if they’re not remotely certain they want to save themselves. And both are series openers, and I really hope that Gutter Mage is as well. Because, like both of those books, Gutter Mage reads like the start of something new and big and exciting. And I can’t wait to read where it goes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    Gutter Mage is the debut novel of J.S. Kelly, and guys: consider me hooked. I loved this novel, and I loved the writing. I'm adding J.S Kelly to my list of auto-buy authors. Rosalind Featherstone is a woman of many names. Her friends call her Roz, and anybody looking to get punched calls her the Gutter Mage. She's worked hard to make peace with her lot in life and has cut a career for herself. While she's never taking on a case involving a kidnapped infant, there's a first time for everything, r Gutter Mage is the debut novel of J.S. Kelly, and guys: consider me hooked. I loved this novel, and I loved the writing. I'm adding J.S Kelly to my list of auto-buy authors. Rosalind Featherstone is a woman of many names. Her friends call her Roz, and anybody looking to get punched calls her the Gutter Mage. She's worked hard to make peace with her lot in life and has cut a career for herself. While she's never taking on a case involving a kidnapped infant, there's a first time for everything, right? Only nothing is what it seems, and Roz quickly finds herself up to her neck in danger and magical politics. What fun. “There were people at various points in my life who had told me that I shouldn't fight dirty. That there was a right way and a wrong way to right, and punching a guy in the eggs fell squarely on the wrong side.” If you love your magic books laced with a hefty dose of noir and sarcasm, then you're going to love Gutter Mage. I know I did. I want so much more – more information about the world, the characters, and especially the magic. Roz is arguably the crassest magical being I have ever had the joy of reading about – and that's saying something. I can see why she got the nickname Gutter Mage – and it isn't just because of her magic or the type of clients she prefers. I love how dark and gritty this novel was. Even the magical system had a darker tone, which fit nicely with the overall noir aesthetic. It also suited Roz's personality for obvious reasons. Personally, I think it did a fantastic job of making this world and story stand out from the rest. Gutter Mage was a fun read because it had a lot of elements blended into one story. It's a magical noir world, where the main character has taken up a new case (mystery) to solve. Throw in personal conflicts, political scheming, and some surprises twists – and a lot is going on in this book. I'll confess that it took me a little while to get into the narrative – Roz is abrasive, which makes it harder to appreciate what's going on. Still, it wasn't long before I was fully invested, and by the time the book ended, I wasn't ready to let go. To sum it up: I adored Gutter Mage. It was a unique and fun read, and I'm already crossing all of my fingers and toes that there will be a sequel. Pretty please? Thanks to Gallery/Saga Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. For more reviews check out Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  18. 4 out of 5

    Justin Bowers

    ** This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review ** Rosalind Featherstone is a badass. Yeah, she might not always make the best decisions; she’s a little impulsive, and she probably drinks too much, but, nonetheless, Roz is a badass. When we first meet her at The Skinned Cat — one of the few taverns she is still welcome in — Roz manages to get in a bit of a knock-down, drag-out scuffle whilst waiting for her partner, the humongous Lysander Tunning. Lysander has ** This book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review ** Rosalind Featherstone is a badass. Yeah, she might not always make the best decisions; she’s a little impulsive, and she probably drinks too much, but, nonetheless, Roz is a badass. When we first meet her at The Skinned Cat — one of the few taverns she is still welcome in — Roz manages to get in a bit of a knock-down, drag-out scuffle whilst waiting for her partner, the humongous Lysander Tunning. Lysander has lined up a cherry of a job for him and Roz: rescuing the kidnapped infant of the highly respected Lord Edmund which was kidnapped by the relatively new and notorious Alath Mages Guild. That’s how this marvelous tale kicks off. From there we drop right into hardboiled noir, magic, spirits, deception and a little bit of sexy time. J.S. Kelley has absolutely nailed the banter between our two primary protagonists. Roz and Lye and old friends and the relationship is just so beautifully executed. In fantasy fiction such as this, you usually expect the big lunk to be the hot-headed one, but it is just absolutely refreshing for Lye to be the voice of reason while Roz will pretty much take on anything regardless of risk. That being said, though, Roz has a real intuitive noggin on her shoulders. The mystery aspect of Gutter Mage is what really sets it apart from much of the fantasy fiction that is out there. I would think I had a certain twist sorted, and be absolutely wrong: an incredibly enjoyable feeling when navigating a new book. Rolling this all up in Roz’s semi-mysterious history is just the icing on the cake. J.S. Kelley definitely has some serious talent at character development, and the worldbuilding in Gutter Mage is also incredibly top notch. Do yourself a favor and put this one in your TBR stack. I honestly can’t think of a more enjoyable mystery novel that I have read in the past year. I feel like a night out drinking with Roz would lead to some serious mirth. I do hope that this is not the last that we see of this world. I feel like there were enough unanswered questions to warrant another book (or ten), and, honestly, I just can’t wait for more.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Literary Lioness

    Rosalind “Roz” Featherstone is known as the Gutter Mage of Drusiel, but do not let her hear you calling her that. A detective, of sorts, Roz solves problems within the magical community; although most of her clients pay in barter, but who’s counting? When her best friend, Lysander brings about the prospect of a high paying job she accepts it. As memories from her past intertwine with clues of the case, she wonders if she will be able to break it, or if it will break her. Hidden behind the crass o Rosalind “Roz” Featherstone is known as the Gutter Mage of Drusiel, but do not let her hear you calling her that. A detective, of sorts, Roz solves problems within the magical community; although most of her clients pay in barter, but who’s counting? When her best friend, Lysander brings about the prospect of a high paying job she accepts it. As memories from her past intertwine with clues of the case, she wonders if she will be able to break it, or if it will break her. Hidden behind the crass of the main character’s reputation, an eccentric, tough, yet deeply loving character is brought to life in J.S. Kelley’s Gutter Mage. The quirky banter alone keeps the reader interested. Throw in a fascinating rendition of mages, deception, plus adventure and this book quickly becomes difficult to put down. None the less, there is an abundant amount of crude, raunchy, and profane language throughout. Add in several spelling and grammatical errors, and the rating of 4 out of 5 stars is given. Be aware, there is smoking, drinking, and drug use described within. There is also some sexual content included, although the details are left to the reader’s imagination. If triggered by any of these actions, please take caution while reading. All in all, a must read for anyone who enjoys losing themselves in the wonder of magic, mystery, and mayhem. Cannot wait for Roz’s next situation. Thank you to #NetGalley, #GutterMage and #SagaPress for the opportunity to voluntarily review this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana Davis

    Gutter Mage Kindle Edition by J.S. Kelley  (Author)  Thank you to the publisher, the author and NetGalley for the complimentary advance reviewer's copy. I am choosing to leave a fair and honest review. This book publishes on September 21, 2021. I really hope this becomes the first in a long, long series. Filled with the flavor of a modern Urban Fantasy, including a foul-mouthed, cranky heroine who has magic she neither wanted nor asked for, a splash of Shakespearean names and more twists than Lombard Gutter Mage Kindle Edition by J.S. Kelley  (Author)  Thank you to the publisher, the author and NetGalley for the complimentary advance reviewer's copy. I am choosing to leave a fair and honest review. This book publishes on September 21, 2021. I really hope this becomes the first in a long, long series. Filled with the flavor of a modern Urban Fantasy, including a foul-mouthed, cranky heroine who has magic she neither wanted nor asked for, a splash of Shakespearean names and more twists than Lombard Street in San Francisco, Gutter Mage brings action, humor and a bit of dark magic. Rosalind Featherstone is cursed with the ability to manipulate flames and blessed with a nasty attitude that keeps people at arm's length. Except for her partner, Lysander, who brings her a case that will pay them enough to make their dreams come true. That case involves Simon Crowley, someone Roz was certain had died long ago. Filled with action, magic and pure bad attitudes, this book is nearly impossible to put down. The twists and turns alone are fantastic. The characters were delightfully diverse and deliciously well-drawn. J.S. Kelley's writing is both dark and funny. With a clear point of view and unique style, Kelley gives us a new world that meshes urban fantasy with an Elizabethian feel. An excellent book for fans of Queer Urban Fantasy. 5 stars out of 5 https://www.amazon.com/Gutter-Mage-J-...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This is a world of magic and royalty, and the mages and their guilds are very powerful. Roz dropped out of the magic school when she was fifteen and even though she is as strong as a mage, she calls herself an arcanist, meaning she studies magic but doesn’t practice it. Others call her the Gutter Mage, which infuriates her. Roz has a very nasty exterior, violent and crude. But then we get glimpses of a different type of person, so sometimes she is actually nice and thoughtful. Other times she is This is a world of magic and royalty, and the mages and their guilds are very powerful. Roz dropped out of the magic school when she was fifteen and even though she is as strong as a mage, she calls herself an arcanist, meaning she studies magic but doesn’t practice it. Others call her the Gutter Mage, which infuriates her. Roz has a very nasty exterior, violent and crude. But then we get glimpses of a different type of person, so sometimes she is actually nice and thoughtful. Other times she is murderous. Roz and her partner Lysander take odd jobs, barely getting by. But then a local lord offers a large amount of money to find his kidnapped son and the story takes off. I like the world building; for those who can afford it, mages capture spirits and put them to work. Spirits power everything – lights, horseless carriages, even elevators. Mages use sigils, drawing intricate symbols to activate their magic, and I was amazed at the things they did in this book. It was difficult for me to like Roz, although by the end she had grown on me. I did like her work partner, Lys, who seemed to be a steadying influence on her. I thought her ex-boyfriend Orlando was cute and clueless, I really enjoyed him. I want to thank NetGalley for providing an ARC of Gutter Mage, and this is my honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    This is such a fun, well-written fantasy story that not only was I glued to it as I excitedly turned the pages, but I started recommending it before I was even done with it. Roz, the titular Gutter Mage, is a give-no-fs, bisexual arcanist with incendiary fire magic who works as somewhat of a mercenary with her best friend as her partner. They get hired to rescue a kidnapped baby and it turns into a phenomenal adventure full of twists, turns, and revelations that made it impossible to put down. Th This is such a fun, well-written fantasy story that not only was I glued to it as I excitedly turned the pages, but I started recommending it before I was even done with it. Roz, the titular Gutter Mage, is a give-no-fs, bisexual arcanist with incendiary fire magic who works as somewhat of a mercenary with her best friend as her partner. They get hired to rescue a kidnapped baby and it turns into a phenomenal adventure full of twists, turns, and revelations that made it impossible to put down. The setting is the classic mildly medieval fantasy land where there are kingdoms that rely on magic and the class system is in full swing. This very familiar setting helps make all the terms used for the magic and mages and sigils an organic part of the story and there's really no need to waste space explaining things. The action takes off and everything just makes sense. That is some impressive plotting and writing. Overall, I feel like this one came out of nowhere and was incredibly entertaining. It's a travesty that there's no more hype around it, and I'm definitely going to be recommending it to anyone looking for a fun, adventure-filled fantasy read. Many very happy thanks to NetGalley and Gallery / Saga Press for the great read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    James Reid

    I know everyone has their own criteria, but novels like this make me hate a */5 rating system. Especially since ratings inflate above the average due to positive reviews or extreme negative reviews. It's got to the point where a 4/5 means readable, but I still cling to a 5/5 being a seminal work that resonated deeply with me at the time I read it. When I look through my previous ratings for inspiration for the next book to read I sometimes re-evaluate the rating I gave, but I almost always let i I know everyone has their own criteria, but novels like this make me hate a */5 rating system. Especially since ratings inflate above the average due to positive reviews or extreme negative reviews. It's got to the point where a 4/5 means readable, but I still cling to a 5/5 being a seminal work that resonated deeply with me at the time I read it. When I look through my previous ratings for inspiration for the next book to read I sometimes re-evaluate the rating I gave, but I almost always let it stand. That's because it represents the impact the first read had, and that's what I think matters to someone approaching a new work. All that being said this was a fantastic read from an author I've heard nothing about. I'll absolutely read and follow whatever they write next. 4 stars should be a sign of excellence, and this novel was excellent. It reminds me of the Amra Thetys novels in tone, which is absolutely intended as a compliment. Most of this is an apology to the author, because I know even 4 stars is barely breaking even but I have multiple thousands of books read, and I can barely remember to rate most. I can't break the system now, or I lose track of who is actually worth following. This is a damn fine book, and I'll be excited to see what comes next.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maddy

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways, and I am super ecstatic that I did. While I was definitely interested in this book before getting my hands on a copy, nothing could prepare me for how invested I would become once I began. Though short, Gutter Mage manages to pack in the best of what both fantasy and mystery have to offer: unique world-building, memorable character, immediate intrigue, and more. It feels like an entire universe is safely tucked away betwe I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways, and I am super ecstatic that I did. While I was definitely interested in this book before getting my hands on a copy, nothing could prepare me for how invested I would become once I began. Though short, Gutter Mage manages to pack in the best of what both fantasy and mystery have to offer: unique world-building, memorable character, immediate intrigue, and more. It feels like an entire universe is safely tucked away between these pages, so much so that I find myself longing for more! Though Roz certainly uncovers this book's primary mystery, the book's ending seems to promise something for the future. I am already itching to get my hands on another book... or two... or three! Roz's abrasive yet endearing characterization immediately draws readers to her, and I definitely want to see what other endeavors she gets herself wrapped up in (not to mention learning more about the girl herself!). Overall, I can't recommend this enough. If you're looking for a short but intriguing mystery, definitely pick this one up!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debby (Alwaysbooking)

    I feel so bad because I received an ARC of this book and am late reviewing it. It was a really good book too, the main character Roz aka the Gutter Mage is one kick butt character, she’s crass, no holds barred, goes head first into trouble without thinking. In most books I’ve read recently its the male character leading the charge and the female character not being so forward in language or fighting. Roz was almost a breath of fresh air compared to most main female characters you don’t see them I feel so bad because I received an ARC of this book and am late reviewing it. It was a really good book too, the main character Roz aka the Gutter Mage is one kick butt character, she’s crass, no holds barred, goes head first into trouble without thinking. In most books I’ve read recently its the male character leading the charge and the female character not being so forward in language or fighting. Roz was almost a breath of fresh air compared to most main female characters you don’t see them like her in most books. I loved the world building in this book, the magic system was so unique, especially as more of it unraveled throughout the book. Different Mage class systems, that Roz doesn’t want to be a part of, and they use spirits to power everything including magical items. I enjoyed almost all of the characters even the smaller characters like the inn keepers or people she met along the way. I won’t mention my favorites because there may be spoilers in that. This doesn’t say book one but I feel like it might be a book one. Either way I really enjoyed it and would definitely read more from this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    merlin513

    Very enjoyable adventure with a refreshing anti-heroine. Roz Featherstone is most adamantly NOT a mage! but she IS obscenely powerful and at an early time in her life an eager student of magery. That was before her professor offered her some extra-curricular activities. Activities that would change Roz's life forever in ways she has yet to figure out or comprehend. Now she and her partner Lysander are for hire to anyone willing to pay. They'll right wrongs, wrong rights (for the right coin) and ge Very enjoyable adventure with a refreshing anti-heroine. Roz Featherstone is most adamantly NOT a mage! but she IS obscenely powerful and at an early time in her life an eager student of magery. That was before her professor offered her some extra-curricular activities. Activities that would change Roz's life forever in ways she has yet to figure out or comprehend. Now she and her partner Lysander are for hire to anyone willing to pay. They'll right wrongs, wrong rights (for the right coin) and generally mercenary for hire. Just don't refer to her by the epithet 'Gutter Mage' if you want to keep your teeth in your head. Then they are approached by the Major Domo of one of the regions most prestigious Lords to retrieve a kidnapped baby...and the price is definitely right! But, the job keeps having queer events happening and Roz is starting to think that all is NOT as it seems. (she's right) Roz is a hard drinking, filthy mouthed brawler with esteem issues and a hoot to follow thru the twists and turns of the story. I highly recommend and look forward to further adventures of the Gutter Mage.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Gutter Mage, more like Gutter Mouth! *wink wink* Rosalind Featherstone is NOT a mage, she is an arcanist that studies the use of sigils that bind spirits to the material plane to preform magic. She then uses this knowledge to solve mysteries and crimes with her partner and best friend Lysander. One day, Lysander approaches her with a job that could set them up very prettily--find the kidnapped child of a noble. Sounds easy, right? Well, little does Roz know that this one case will lead to a poten Gutter Mage, more like Gutter Mouth! *wink wink* Rosalind Featherstone is NOT a mage, she is an arcanist that studies the use of sigils that bind spirits to the material plane to preform magic. She then uses this knowledge to solve mysteries and crimes with her partner and best friend Lysander. One day, Lysander approaches her with a job that could set them up very prettily--find the kidnapped child of a noble. Sounds easy, right? Well, little does Roz know that this one case will lead to a potential cataclysmic event that only she can stop. Overall, "Gutter Mage" by J.S. Kelley was a enjoyable and fast-paced read filled with great action, foul-mouthery, and a little spice here and there. The story was reminiscent of Jim Butcher's "The Dresden Files" with what I took as a Victorian-era flare, but stood all on its own. I would definitely suggest to give "Gutter Mage" a read if you are a fan of Harry Dresden, supernatural crimes, and strong female main characters. **Thank you NetGalley and Saga Press for providing an eARC for review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I received this ARC for an honest review. I am under the impression that this is the first book that J.S. Kelley has published. Kelley did a really good job of world and character building. I could envision the world the author created. This story is about Roz Featherstone who helps people kind of like a P.I. Roz is what she calls herself an arcanist not a mage. She did go to a mage school, but she was kicked out. Why??? You must read the book. She sometimes help people even when people can only I received this ARC for an honest review. I am under the impression that this is the first book that J.S. Kelley has published. Kelley did a really good job of world and character building. I could envision the world the author created. This story is about Roz Featherstone who helps people kind of like a P.I. Roz is what she calls herself an arcanist not a mage. She did go to a mage school, but she was kicked out. Why??? You must read the book. She sometimes help people even when people can only barter type of payment. Roz and her partner Lysander was hired to find a nobleman’s son that was kidnapped by the grimoric (mage) guild named Alath. Roz and Lys agreed, but things do not go as expected. What happened? You must read the book. 😉 I did enjoy this book. I did think the author rambled in some parts, but a little bit of editing will fix that. I would recommend this book. It caught and kept my attention throughout the story

  29. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Sewell

    Net Galley eARC. While a student at the Mage Academy, Rosaline was subjected to a banned arcane ritual which forever changed her. Resolved to no longer be vulnerable, she evolves into a foul mouthed, hard drinking, kickass individual. With her only friend Lysander she forms a magical investigation practice. Lord Ariel hires them to find his kidnapped infant. What they discover is not a missing baby but a nefarious plot that would destroy their world and life as they knew it. The world is well de Net Galley eARC. While a student at the Mage Academy, Rosaline was subjected to a banned arcane ritual which forever changed her. Resolved to no longer be vulnerable, she evolves into a foul mouthed, hard drinking, kickass individual. With her only friend Lysander she forms a magical investigation practice. Lord Ariel hires them to find his kidnapped infant. What they discover is not a missing baby but a nefarious plot that would destroy their world and life as they knew it. The world is well developed with prose that made it easy to visualize and the plot premise was unusual and engrossing. Roz is a unique and interesting protagonist facing personal and moral dilemmas. This noir fantasy/thriller has a lot going for it and I really enjoyed it. I hope that the author has more adventures waiting in the wings. I would gladly spend more time with these characters revisiting their world.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Henry Lazarus

    J.S. Kelley has a fun adventure for Rosalind Featherstone, known as the Gutter Mage (hard from Gallery / Saga Press) because she doesn’t belong to any mage Guild. She had to drop out of the Mage college after her professor took advantage of her, not for xex, but for ritual that left her hands tattooed and gave her the ability to summon fire. Magic works by trapping spirits and has a nineteenth century technology level based on it. Roz and her partner handle problems for people, sometimes for bar J.S. Kelley has a fun adventure for Rosalind Featherstone, known as the Gutter Mage (hard from Gallery / Saga Press) because she doesn’t belong to any mage Guild. She had to drop out of the Mage college after her professor took advantage of her, not for xex, but for ritual that left her hands tattooed and gave her the ability to summon fire. Magic works by trapping spirits and has a nineteenth century technology level based on it. Roz and her partner handle problems for people, sometimes for barter. When a rich noble wants them to rescue his kidnaped baby, they jump at the chance. Unfortunately there is no baby, only a device to disrupt the spirits that make elevators work. Roz, faced with deceit and treachery, has to somehow save her kingdom. I read this with a smile on my face and hope for more adventures to come.Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press

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