Book Review: Andromeda Rising by James Ramsey

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June 7, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue

Andromeda RisingBook: Andromeda Rising

Series: Celestial Series #1

Author: James Ramsey

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Rating: 4 Spellbound Squirrels

Plot: Joceyln “Joss” Matthews is a private investigator who specializes in finding lost things, especially children. She’s also darned good at it thanks to her skills at witchcraft. Her current case brings her up against something even more sinister than an isolated kidnapping, though. A fanatical religious group is abducting multiple children off the streets of Seattle, the same group who has been hunting Joss since she was 10 years old.

When her life is saved by the shapeshifting Mateo, Joss learns there’s much more out there in the world than just her unusual magical abilities. The two team up to find the missing children and, hopefully, stop the threats on Joss’s own life.

Kira’s Take: Ramsey’s debut novel is a fun read. I was a little worried in the early chapters that the book would be an origin-style story focused on Wiccan-style witchcraft. That wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but it could have felt very repetitive for readers who have read many books with witchy characters. Fortunately, Ramsey’s cosmology is much broader and incorporates all manner of supernatural and mythological beings. She incorporates just the right level of detail and world-building to leave you in a state of wonderment and wanting to learn more.

Followers of this blog may recall my weariness with detective protagonists in Urban Fantasy, but apparently I’m a liar because I still really enjoyed Joss’s story. That might be because Joss was not crafted from the same mold from which most supernatural detectives are derived. She’s not snarky, hard-boiled, weapons-obsessed, combative, nor does she have a prickly personality. She’s actually pretty sweet. Maybe a little too goody-two-shoes, but I think it fits well with the character and story Ramsey is trying to tell. Joss firmly follows the Wiccan Rede to do no harm, even when alternatives would be easier and less risky.

MateoI was also intrigued by Mateo as Joss’s witchy familiar. I want to know where I can get my own talking leopard companion who can take any form but that of a human.

My biggest criticism of this book is that Joss seems a bit immature and vulnerable for a 28-year-old woman, but I think that is probably because I’m so used to the typical supernatural detective protagonist. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Joss is weak. She’s not, she’s just different from the common UF protagonist. This deviation from the norm is actually pretty darned refreshing. I would also like to applaud Ramsey for bucking another common trend in UF: introducing romantic and sexual relationships for the characters as quickly as possible. I like romantic tension as much as the next reader, but it’s nice to read a novel where the supernatural goings on are the important part, not who the protagonist is hooking up with.

Final Analysis: All in all Andromeda Rising is a very entertaining debut novel and a refreshing change of pace from typical Urban Fantasy fare. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

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17 thoughts on “Book Review: Andromeda Rising by James Ramsey

  1. ginnylurcock says:

    I love that image so much…

  2. Well thought out review. Actually makes me want to read the book

  3. Thanks for this great review, Kira. It isn’t my typical read, but your well-written review may convince me to put it on my list.

  4. L. Marie says:

    I had to go back and look at that post where you talk about your weariness. Hee hee. It made me laugh. Because that’s so true. Anyway, this book sounds interesting. I wondered if it was like Magic Lost, Trouble Found–that Lisa Shearin Raine Benares series.

    • I haven’t read that series, but it’s been on my radar because Amazon is insistent that I would like it. I guess my plot synopsis does make the two sound similar, but my gut instinct is that they are fairly different.

      Of course, now I’m going to have to read it to find out for certain 🙂

      • L. Marie says:

        Amazon has been wrong before!!! They insisted that I would enjoy this one, and they were right this time. I haven’t read the last one yet.

      • I peeked at the first two chapters of “Magic Lost, Trouble Found” and I can confirm that it is not at all the same as “Andromeda Rising.” The former is a traditional fantasy world (i.e. not Earth) with a modern voice, and the latter is Urban Fantasy (fantasy-type beings set in modern world.)

  5. James Ramsey says:

    Reblogged this on James Ramsey and commented:
    Kira Lynn Blue has my undying devotion for her outstanding review today. It was a complete but completely welcome surprise. One of the best reviews I have ever had on any story I have written to date. SHe has very likely gained a stalker in me.
    Please read her words and get her take on Andromeda Rising.

    • Surprise! I loved your book and consider this my vote of support to keep the good stuff coming. Kira needs more Joss and Mateo!

      • James Ramsey says:

        The second book is completely outlined and I just need some time to sit down and start writing. Maybe this weekend as I am out of town with only one bar of cell service. Which also means little to no internet (Eep!) so there are no distractions.

        I have the plot line for a third book and amazingly enough the idea for a fourth started percolating last night.

        I will be writing the occasional short story as well to keep readers up on Joss and Mateo’s day to day adventures and they will be posted here on my site. I have one already in mind and it makes me laugh regularly. Again I just need the time to sit down and write it.

        Sigh…Oh to be able to be a full-time writer. So many ideas, so little time.

      • Oh, very cool! Looking forward to seeing the stories on your blog 🙂

  6. […] Read the full review here. […]

  7. […] Book Review: Andromeda Rising by James Ramsey (kiralynblue.com) […]

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