Lustre by Jaime Munn is a novella about Nilla Hayes, a witch fueled by sugar. After a disappointing breakup with her girlfriend, who happened to be a werewolf, she’s short on cash and in search of a distraction. A two line text lands her in an unwilling and binding contract with an angel. In Nilla’s world angels aren’t the good guys we are all used to. While Nate the angel is gorgeous he is also a collector of those with supernatural abilities. The book didn’t quite make it clear exactly how the relationship with his collection worked but Nate seemed to gather his subject’s powers and use them for himself giving them a normal life. For some its a blessing, for budding witches like Nilla angels are usually avoided. When one of Nate’s collection gains powers he wasn’t supposed to and suddenly starts killing people Nilla is recruited to find him. Nilla has the normal missteps of any heroine along the way and the book has an unusual twist with a happy ending.
Some of the concepts in this novella were quite new and intriguing. I rather like the idea of a witch converting sugar into magic. It certainly explains where all the raw energy could come from instead of some mysterious force in the universe. An angel as the antihero but not the villain was a great twist as well. Nate wasn’t evil per-say but he wasn’t someone I would invite for dinner. That he was scary powerful was a given and Nilla kept reminding the reader throughout the book.
There were a few writing issues that could mostly be overlooked; just a sentence or two that had to be re-read to understand what the author was trying to say. I really enjoyed the novella for the most part. It was the ending that killed me and pulled down the rating; it felt very anti-climatic. The author spent alot of time building up the heroine the angel and the villain. He set clear expectations of what they could and could not do. He also made sure you were sufficiently scared of his villain. Nilla and her friends go into the last “battle” ready to die and nothing happens. There is no fight, no argument, and no real magic on Nilla’s part. (Spoiler Alert) She laid a trap and it worked. Nate came and took care of everything the end. Granted it was a neat and tidy ending and probably the most logical way for it to end but readers don’t like neat and tidy. At least I don’t like neat and tidy. Its probably too many years reading epic fantasy. Who knows?
It won’t keep me from reading another Witchlight Novella but another ending like that would. For the most part its a good quick read with some interesting ideas. A side story on Nate might be an interesting read as well Jaime.
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