If you have not yet read the Sin du Jour series from Matt Wallace, or the short story “Small Wars” at Tor.com, hie thee to your bookseller of choice and get all three books, right now. Pride’s Spell is the third book in the series.
Matt Wallace cooks up (obvious pun intended) a perfect blend of urban fantasy and laugh-out-loud comedy. Add a side of brilliantly rendered characters navigating situations that would reduce most people to quivering piles of Jell-O, and you’ve got a series that never fails to satisfy.
In this installment, executive chef Bronko has a problem. Sin du Jour is catering the yearly TaurusCon buffet for minotaurs and centaurs, and a booking for a Hollywood premiere comes in at the same time. It seems the Hollywood types had such a great time at the Goblin wedding (book 2) that they’re clamoring for more. Bronko’s only option is to divide the staff and go temporarily bi-coastal.
If the gamer geek in you is screaming, “Don’t split the party!” your instincts are dead on. As soon as the staff are on opposite coasts, the shit hits the fan. On the East Coast, the convention goes off without a hitch because they expected at least some shit since they were serving centaurs. After they get cleaned up, they face an attack by unlikely assailants: The Easter bunny, Cupid, and a viciously evil Santa Claus. The battle is, of course, both violent and hilarious.
In Hollywood, the premiere party is dull to the point of numbing. The staff caters to the “eat nothing” crowd with variations on every food fad available. The real culinary fireworks are planned for the after party, where the VIPs are expecting a spectacle of epic proportions. However, the film producers have something even hotter planned for Bronko and his staff.
Pride’s Spell does have plot elements that begin in the first two books. Wallace gives enough backstory that you’ll be able to read this without trouble, but for the full effect, you should read the first two. Book one, Envy of Angels, is an award-worthy read. Lustlocked was an homage to the Goblin King (Yes, that one), published just a few days after his death, yet written before the public knew he was ill. There is another plot regarding Chef Bronko that began in Lustlocked that I’m avoiding because of spoilers.
I highly recommend the Sin du Jour series. The novellas are inexpensive, quick to read and guaranteed to entertain.