Book Review: Jezebel's Ladder

Jezebel's Ladder cover

I hope everyone is doing well, now that the first full month of summer is coming to a close.

Aside from not being able to have the small break that I was hoping to get before August, though you guys would not have noticed it anyway, things are going fairly well, as I can still do something that I enjoy.

Back while I was trying to finish off Spice & Wolf, Scott Rhine requested I review another title written by him, and I promised that I would do it as soon as I could.

Today, I will fulfill that promise by reviewing the requested title, which is called Jezebel's Ladder by Scott Rhine.

Jezebel Johnson is a seeming ordinary woman, who is suffering from unfortunate incidents and worked as a magician's assistance.

However, when she encounters an underage boy in a bar and is exposed to some paper that awakens something in her, she finds herself caught in middle of a world in which companies and governments governments will kill for such papers and Jezebel is going to have to adapt quickly if she was to survive.

I kind of liked this book.

From the very first moment that I opened up this book and started reading, I did not want to put it down for any reason, at least for a good majority of it, though I do have to satisfying the same needs as everyone else.

As I have stated many times before, for a reader to be able to really enjoy a book, they must lose the sense of everything around them to the point where there are engrossed with the story and, yet again, Scott Rhine was able to do this quite well.

This might be a great thing to see, as a writer that can do this comes off as quite decent, as well as something that I would expect to see from Scott, but seeing as this was the first book he wrote, according to what he told me himself, it comes off as more impressive than Agatha Christie was in The Secret Adversary.

Yes, Scott Rhine and Agatha Christie do not necessarily write the same stuff, but Agatha Christie's first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was rather unimpressive and it took a while for her to get as good as she was in her prime, whereas Scott Rhine was able to write something this engaging in his debut work.

If I had to say why, it would pretty much be a repeated what made his more recent work, Quantum Zero Sentinel, in that his writing style did not turn me off and that I felt like I was watching movie as opposed to reading reading a book.

I am not too sure about you guys, but this already made me glad that I decided to give Scott's work a try like I did.

Hopefully, he can keep this as impressive as this, because, like Weston, I do not want to see him fail miserably to the where I would have to sadly rip him a new one, which I hate doing, even though there have now been two fictional works that I have dealt with where I had to skip right into what I hated, which were the Yu Yu Hakusho movie and Spice & Wolf Volume 17.

Then again, I have to remember that Scott Rhine is only human, so he cannot consistently turn out gold.

I also liked how I could see practically everything going on.

While Scott Rhine was able to impress me quite a bit with Quantum Zero Sentinel, he did have a small problem in making it easy for me to picture everything necessary, though it was not bad enough that it would have affected the quality of his work too much, and it really made it hard to jump right into things.

Here, however, I had no troubles with being able to see exactly what Scott Rhine was seeing in his mind in pretty much the whole book, which ended up contributing making it feel much more like a movie, along with the action and other things.

Regardless of the kind of story and pacing, the reader needs to be able to imagine the world and character presented in a work of fiction, especially when it is prose fiction, and if a writer cannot give enough detail to generate those images, it makes it harder for the reader to be able to get that temporary escape from reality, so that they can relax.

If things were much worse in this department than the last book from Scott Rhine that I had read, I would have been really disappointed, as there is so much I can be merciful towards it for it being a debut work, since I try to be fair with each book I read, though the positives can become much brighter if I notice it a work that was written early in the writer's career.

Fortunately, Scott Rhine did not slack off in this department, and I can see how so many people have found this book enjoyable, as he said this was his most popular book, though I am not sure if it is one that he was proud to have written, since even writers do not like all of the stories they wrote, and I actually feel like giving him a nice round of applause.

Another nice thing about this book was I could get a good laugh.

While the humor found in this book is not that unique, when compared with much of the comedic moments found in American media today, which is not surprising since the things that citizens of different countries find funny put in those same kinds of things into their own fictional works, the humor was executed well enough to actually be funny and make these characters seem to be so interesting and lively.

Just like how an audience needs to be able to see what what is happening, readers do not want to be bogged down by things being overly serious by having massive amounts of drama or action, because it can becoming tiring very quickly, especially since I see people complaining about some works of fiction having too much melodrama.

After all, would you want to see a movie where the only thing characters do is fight to the death from zero seconds in to the very last second? I sure would not like that.

This is what I was expecting from Scott Rhine, and he really delivered.

If he were not able to do this, I probably would have given him some flack for not being any different from the movies currently released in Hollywood that focuses more on eye candy than on an actual story, but because he did not, I actually feel like giving him a nice round of applause.

The thing that I liked the most though is how this book actually felt like a fun read.

While I tend to favor stories these days that are more along the lines of Barakamon, Your Lie in April, and A Life Death, where the struggles are a bit closer to the kinds of struggles we have, Oand the Spice & Wolf series impressed me, there is a big different between things like those stories or series and the typical fast paced stories that Scott Rhine and so many writers in the US deliver.

Even though the aforementioned series are all pretty good, they can be hard to write in a way that the reader or viewer can feel like they are having fun, especially when the things occurring at things that are just part of daily life or not, with the highest degree of difficulty being in works like Spice & Wolf, which is a slow paced series, and Barakamon, which is probably a bit more realistic than Spice & Wolf.

For a writer to be able to make the book feel like a fun read with a slow paced plot, they would truly need to be a great writer, because there does not seem to be too much going on, which makes it easy for the reader to become pretty bored, whereas the task is fairly easy to accomplish in a fast paced work, as long as the writer does not do anything terrible wrong, such as dull fights and chase scenes.

In the case of this book, Scott Rhine did a very good job in delivering things so well that I had felt like I was having fun reading this, as opposed to getting the feeling of reading this for school or work, for more than half of the book.

Scott Rhine may not have be the genius that Isuna Hasekura seemed to be in the beginning of the Spice & Wolf series, but he can still give readers what they want, and that deserves another good round of applause. Keep up the good work, Scott.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything else that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out on its own.

Because this book was able to capture my attention and hold it for much of the book, especially considering that this was a debut work, I could see everything that was going on, there were things to laugh about, and this was a fun read, this book was fairly decent.

Although I liked this book there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about, such as typos, there was only one thing that bothered me about the book.

This book did not end too well.

While this is Scott's debut work, and he was probably not as good when he penned this as he is in his more recent work, I was still kind of expecting this book to end better than it did.

If I had to say why, it is because it kind of dragged on.

When writing a work of fiction, the two things that must have proper placement is the cliffhangers, if it is a series, and the ending itself, because if either is in the wrong place, it will just ruin things for reader much more than actually having a story spoiled, and Scott Rhine's problem was that he ended this book too late.

In this book, there are a total of 56 chapters, if you count the epilogue, and the the 55th chapter concludes with a character about to tell a new recruit a story, which is a fairly interesting ending because it makes me want to check out the rest of the series, but then there is an epilogue that explores the pages a bit more.

A series opener like this is supposed to get a reader interested in the rest of series, and leave some mysteries for the reader, but with one of the mysteries settled, though not completely explained, I do not have that urge to check out the rest of the series, even if I had enough room on my schedule to follow more series.

If Scott had omitted the epilogue, I would have been much more impressed with this book than I am, and I would have been willingly to give it a near perfect score, as it did a few things better than Quantum Zero Sentinel, but because of it, I am reminded of a few of the issues present that I would rather overlook, such as characters that are not that interesting, because the rest of the book was so much better, and it makes me a little sad, even if I have to remind myself that debut works do not usually show the same kind of quality as later works.

Hopefully, Scott's future work is not as troublesome as this, because I would rather see a writer improve and succeed than to make the same mistakes of the past.

Thankfully, this was the only major problem, so I do not have to feel bad for ripping into Scott Rhine, since he is a fairly kind person, and I can just end things here.

While there was only one big issue, the fact that it was not ending at great place to get me interested in any more of the series, and reminded me of the presence of its other, more minor flaws, kind of hurt the book.

Despite the fact that there was quite a bit to like, the issue that cropped in this book outweigh it enough to only make this good enough to kill time.

I recommend this book to fans of action stories and Scott Rhine, as they will like this the most.

As for everyone else, this might be worth giving a try, especially because it will appeal more to people than stories or series with slow pacing.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please consider supporting me on Patreon or buying the reviewed title from either Amazon or Book Depository, either of which will help both Scott and I, so that I can find more worthwhile reads for you guys, and do whatever you do when something impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.