Review: The Ledberg Runestone (The Jonah Heywood Chronicles #1) by Patrick Donovan

February 5, 2018 Review 0

Review: The Ledberg Runestone (The Jonah Heywood Chronicles #1) by Patrick DonovanThe Ledberg Runestone by Patrick Donovan
Series: The Jonah Heywood Chronicles #1
Published by Diversion Books on January 30, 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Pages: 254
Source: NetGalley
Sexual Content: TW: Attempted rape, graphic violence
Reviewed by: Rebecca
4 Stars

Magic: To some, it’s spectacle. To others, it’s proof that there’s more to life than meets the eye. To Jonah, it means one simple thing: money. A shaman for hire, Jonah knows how to tap into his powers as easily as he can turn on a light switch, but the real money is in putting on a show.

That is, until a mysterious woman makes him an offer he can’t afford to refuse: $20,000 all if he finds a little thing called the Ledberg runestone, legend of Norse mythology. With debt collectors like the Carver brothers breathing down his neck, the offer should be tempting, but when they threaten his father’s life, it becomes a mission Jonah must take.

As he starts to explore Asheville’s seedy magical underbelly, however, Jonah soon discovers he’s not alone on the hunt. Powerful forces want this stone. Will Jonah survive long enough to save his father, or will his meddling with the mystical finally get him killed?

Jonah Heywood is a drunk, a liar, and he probably owes you money. Although THE LEDBERG RUNESTONE introduces us to a familiar male urban fantasy character, the humour and the plotting keeps the novel fresh. When Jonah’s debtors come calling,, he has to work with an untrustworthy client to find a lost runestone.

Jonah is a shaman and spirit talker, which means he’s constantly making deals, gifting tributes, and giving bribes. The plot moves fast and the entire book just takes place over a couple of days. During that time Jonah is repeatedly beaten to a pulp, stalked by otherworldly characters, and still manages to find the time to steal magical artifacts.

My only issue with the novel is that it relies on the tired ‘his crush’s ex boyfriend is definitely evil and is a rapist’ trope. Melly is introduced as a sassy bartender but quickly devolves into a damsel in distress after two attempted rapes. She’s then forgotten in the back half of the novel when the ex boyfriend is dealt with. Since the plot moves so fast, it makes sense to ignore Melly and focus on the action, but it leaves the reader wondering why this minor plot was introduced at all. We already knew Cash was evil because he threatened Jonah’s father and beat Jonah to a pulp - attempted rape is unnecessary.

I appreciated that the author took Jonah’s addiction seriously, instead of treating it like a hard-boiled character trope. Like most addicts, Jonah doesn’t realize how bad his drinking actually is but everyone around him is begging him to get help. The novel also doesn’t pull its punches when it comes to fights and character deaths. There are consequences to every hit and to every new ally or enemy. THE LEDBERG RUNESTONE showcases a fun and intriguing new characters and sets up a fun magical world. Jonah has enough character flaws and backstory to fill more novels.

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For other urban fantasy novel featuring fast-talking, over-their-head, male character's check out Clara Coulson's City of Crows series, or Jim Butcher's Dresden Files

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