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Publisher's Summary

J.S. Kelley weaves epic 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!

©2021 J.S. Kelley. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Gutter Mage

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshing

First off, Tanis Parenteau nails this audiobook. Her voice fits Roz perfectly and knows how to draw out feeling. Secondly, the story is refreshing. It caught me off guard. It’s original and entertaining. A great way to spend an afternoon and evening.

21 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The mouth on this one

“Well, F me gently with a halberd!” … uttered within first ten minutes.
Should be obvious with a title like Gutter Mage and a genre of medieval noir, but this story is salty.
The F bombs, metaphorical crotch measuring and gutter banter fly fast and furious from “go!” It works for me when I’m in a salt, tequila, lime kinda mood.

“Try to unclench a little, Mage Lazaro, the fate of the world may depend on it.”
Thankfully, MC Roz isn’t just another loner white guy with mad magical skills. She’s a mage school dropout whose got parents and a BFFF since childhood (yes, for this story the third F is intentional). There’s a high level of irreverence masking an endearing level of vulnerability in Rosalind Featherstone. There’s also some LGBTQ fluidity organic to the story.

“Sometimes conversations with him were like holding both sides of a velvet curtain-
more or less impossible to do on my own.”
Despite the strong channeling of Deadpool level snark, this was occasionally poignant and deep. The characters, world and magic system are engaging and, as advertised, have that deliciously noir feel. There’s gas lamps and carriages powered by spirits, guilds and mages, sigils and forced possession.

“If it were physically possible to F a library, I’d be suggesting we go back to my place for a drink.”
But, this story chases the dark with snark and boy, did that ever work for me here. Outside of the Quincy MFing Harker series, I don’t usually tolerate so much mouth.

And, can I take a moment to bow to narrator Tanis Parentau? Ah-mazing!
I liked this so much that, if book 2 was out now, I’d be tempted to drop a credit on it.

18 people found this helpful

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Vulgar and Foul: Gutter is an Accurate Adjective

I only got a few chapters into this story before I turned it off. If books had warning labels this one would be marked restricted for the sheer volume of invective. The author goes beyond casual cursing and tries to be edgy by making the protagonist into a tough woman who embraces every form of vice. The story wasn’t anything special for as far as I listened, but I’m not willing to subject myself to its crass dialogue any further.

4 people found this helpful

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Wretched

Really I’m trying to come up with something positive to say here, but I tried this for a few hours and unfortunately have nothing to show for it but regret.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Chapter 8. Not that interresting

Chapter 8 is Borring. to me but I like the rest of the book.interesting. Adventured..

1 person found this helpful

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Decent start, but I wanted more

I'm not quite sure how to review this because I'm not quite sure how I feel about Roz. On the one hand, she seems to be an arcanist (one who studies the sigils used in magic but is not a magic-user, herself) except I'm confused because streams of fire come out of her hands and she seems to use it against bad guys to roast them to ashes. While that is cool, it does require some suspension of the laws of physics. But it does seem to be her superpower. Without revealing any spoilers, she had a traumatic past that has led her to her current state, but from the early pages, it also looks like she helps people because they need help and if they can't pay, she's not above bartering for her services. This seems to be why she is always in need of money. I found the world she's in to be pretty interesting, and while the rules of magic are not entirely clear to me, it seems that additional books in this universe (assuming there will be future books) might develop it further. I would definitely be interested in that. There was plenty of action and overall, I felt the pacing was pretty good. However, the last 20% was a bit unexpected. I am used to books with plenty of twists and turns, but in this case, there were two things that seemed to come out of left field and I'm not sure how I feel about it. The first had to do with the motivations of the bad guy, and the second had to do with betrayal and once again, the motivations behind it. I honestly had no inkling and looking back, I'm not sure if there was anything that could have foreshadowed these results.

Overall, I think I did like the story, and I was never bored, but the ending just didn't wow me. That said, would I read future books set in this universe? Yes, because I do like Roz and I am interested in what comes next for her.

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Unexpected

This was one of those books I picked up on a whim. I think it was for sale maybe.

Roz is a pistol. And like that item, she goes off with little warning. She and her partner, and best friend, Lysander take on magical crimes. They are a bit CSI in their technique.

I like the world Kelley built. There’s depth to it. It has a few things that felt too “our world,” but nonetheless this was a great story.

The narrator did a great job. I had no problem recognizing voices. I recommend this one if you like hard boiled, noir detective things.

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entertaining in a weird way

characters entertaining? check
storyline entertaining? check
narrator great? check
author captivating? check
liked it- check

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Needs different narration

I can't really tell if I liked the story because the narration was so distracting.

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just not very good

Not exciting at all. A total slog. Couldn't finish the book and i am returning it. Narration was top notch though.

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