Somehow John Ringo‘s latest, Princess of Wands, reminds me of another book he’s written recently. Both have the overtones of some sort of literary self-congratulation. In Ghost‘s case, I counted that as a fault. In Princess of Wands‘ case, I count it as a strength. Both books are also episodic rather than regular novels, but the similarities end here.
One problem in reviewing this book is that one cannot really discuss much of the setup without writing major spoilers. The cover blurb takes one approach: describe what the reader learns within the first five pages, who cares that the picture that gives one of the book is completely wrong. Unfortunately, the cover blurb is so misleading that it can make people ignore this book even though they should have picked it up.
The genre is urban fantasy. The main character is a devout Christian soccer mom who finds herself in an adventure. The magic system and the ontology are quite interesting. There are battles with evil. There is a con. The publishing house itself, Pier… erm… Baen Books, as well as some of its authors, make an appearance onstage. (In fact, if you aren’t a barfly, you’re going to miss some of the fun – like I probably missed a lot of it, never having visited a con where Baen people gather.)
I found it a satisfying read, especially the middle episode. The final episode was so short that it didn’t feel well balanced, but it’s a minor issue. However, I would probably hesitate to recommend this book to a certain kind of Christans: if you think Harry Potter is evil, don’t come near this book.
Overall, I’ll rate this book 4/5.