Genre: Fantasy, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay
About The Book
An outcast necromancer and a half-demon clerk need to save the world from seashell zombies. No pressure.
Everyone’s always told Aspic that trouble can’t help following him because of his heritage. Determined to put the lie to half-demon stereotypes, he’s finally landed a good, quiet job as an herbalist’s clerk where the owner trusts him to man the shop alone. What could go wrong selling coriander and thyme?
When Geoffrey first enters the shop, Aspic finds the little man’s eccentric appearance startling, then intriguing. Geoffrey explains, in stops and starts, that he is a theoretical necromancer researching replacements for blood magic. His current line of inquiry involves seashells—do they have any in stock? Aspic’s co-workers warn him that Geoffrey is a walking disaster, but he finds himself more and more drawn to a necromancer concerned with ethical death magic.
Aspic is with Geoffrey in his lab when he has his first success, but the results aren’t at all what he was aiming for. Instead of raising the dead rabbit on his table, the ritual animates the seashell and rock spell components, which flee the lab and cause havoc. They soon discover that the spell-animated objects are “zombies” in that they can “infect” other inanimate things.
An unorthodox necromancer and an exasperated shop clerk are going to need some unconventional help to find a working de-animation spell before the world is overrun by zombie seashells and stones gone mad.
Geoffrey the Very Strange is part of the Magic Emporium series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need.
This book contains theoretical necromancy, unexpected spell outcomes, some extraordinarily angry seashells, and a guaranteed HEA.
I’ve read and enjoyed several novellas by this author before and the premise of the Magic Emporium series definitely appealed to me, so I thought giving the series a shot with a tried and true author would be a good place to start. Geoffrey the Very Strange is a sweet story with endearing characters. The blurb advertises a happily-ever-after, which I did want for both main characters. Martinez has a way of writing quirky, charming characters and making you root for them.
My only issue with Geoffrey the Very Strange is that it moved a little too quickly, which I understand can be a constraint of the length of a novella. Aspic and Geoffrey move from total and wary strangers to deeply in love and living together within just a few days, which felt rushed. I will always support a happy ending for queer characters, though, so the complaint is minor, especially because the rest of the book is engaging and moves along at a similar pace.
It’s a whirlwind couple of days for a pair of outcasts who badly need their family and friends; it’s nice to see them come together with each other and their wider community. I would recommend this book to lovers of sweet romance, fans of Martinez’s other works, people looking for a light, fun read, and anyone looking for a kind-hearted romance for characters who really deserve it.
Dan Ackerman is a writer and educator who has lived in Connecticut for their entire life. They received their BSED from CCSU in 2013 and wrote their Master’s thesis on representations of women in same-sex relationships in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema. Currently, Dan is studying for a second MA in ABA and works in a center school for students with a variety of intellectual, developmental, or multiple disabilities. In their spare time, Dan continues to read and write, supplemented with a healthy amount of movie marathons and gaming.