Review: Elvira Wonders by Sanna Hines

Let’s talk about Elvira Wonders by Sanna Hines.

The town of Elvira is opening for tourism and it has a lot to offer its visitors. Fairies, Giants, Werewolves, Vampires (two flavours), Thunderbirds, Naiads, Ghosts, psychics and… Egyptians. But as opening day approaches, artefacts are stolen from the Egyptian temple, the feud between the vampire factions escalates and Josh Seldom discovers a murdered fairy.

I was pleased to discover this was not about a vampy mistress of the dark speculating about things. That’s a good thing. In fact, when Josh stumbles across the body of the murdered fairy friend, my interest was well and truly piqued. Hines writes well, I find her style readable, and she does a great job at pulling these various factions into the story, and giving each of them a role in the resolution of the story.

So: a promising start, and a deft conclusion. My problem, I’m afraid, was with the bits in between.

For me, there are a few structural problems with the plot. The elements set up at the start, the murder and the pressure to be ready for the start of tourist season, is all-but dropped in favour of soap opera. We focus on crushes, bickering, mystical curses played for comedy, and for reasons I couldn’t fathom, the ongoing damage to a Hummer is probably the most consistent through-line. While the resolution of the murder does kick off that conclusion I enjoyed, it arrives in an unsatisfactory, almost accidental manner.

There is some interesting world building mixed in here, and I think there is a lot of potential in the Elvira setting for either a much darker story, or a lighter romp without the murders. As it is, it falls betwixt and between, and I can’t give it more than 3 stars.

One thought on “Review: Elvira Wonders by Sanna Hines”

  1. Bonus material, not really part of my review, because frankly it’s the kind of thing only someone as odd as me would worry about…

    At the start of chapter two, in Josh’s POV, it says:
    “Normally, Josh didn’t much notice that women wore”

    And yet throughout the book, whenever we are in Josh’s POV, what the women around him are wearing gets described constantly. Which means he DOES notice. The contradiction bothers me, more than it should, but the other underlying problem is that Josh has a tendency to objectify the women around him, and it makes it difficult to like him as a protagonist.

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