Comeuppance Served Cold, by Marion Deeds - Book Review

Write on: Mon, 30 May 2022 by  in Assaph's Reviews Read 466

Historical-fantasy blends are my favourite genre, and the Roaring 1920's is one of my fav periods, so of course this drew my attention.

What to Expect

Expect a half-heist half-revenge story, told in a somewhat non-linear way (lots of skipping back and forth). The story mostly follows Dolly White, with occasional other points of view, as she gains employment and trust at the Earnshaw family. In between, we get glimpses of magic integrated into society (with government licenses and public prejudices), allusions to more happening (like the world of faery), and a good mix-in with your usual culture of speakeasies and bootleggers.

What I liked

Good setting and world building, nice storytelling techniques and prose, and engaging characters. A quick and entertaining read, that holds a lot of promise.

What to be aware of

I found the world-building at the beginning somewhat heavy-handed and overdone, although that improves quickly. Surprisingly, at the later parts I found it somewhat underdone - not enough of certain aspects (like shifters and faery) that were built up earlier in the novel. One only hopes they will be expanded in future installments.

Due to the time jumps, the story can get a tad confusing in the first half (until your understanding of characters and events cements), and I found the ending somewhat anti-climatic as Deeds skips around too quickly over what events are building towards and what I feel should have been the intense climax. It's a good technique, but falls shy of the mark in execution.

Felix's Review

Felix enjoyed the novel. Though his specialty is solving crimes, he certainly has no moral qualms with being the servant of revenge and dipping his hands in the occasional safe. He certainly isn't a fan of any abusive authority figures, so applauds Ms White on her efforts and choices. He thinks she'll be a good resource to keep in touch with, even if he'll never fully trust her.


There's a lot going for this novel, and (as much as I hate such comments) I think the issues are more with the editor than with the author. Certainly one to read for lovers of the period and the historical-fantasy genre, with hopes that there will be sequels and that Deeds will get into her stride.

Enjoying the reviews, but wondering who the heck is that Felix fellow? Glad you asked! He's the protagonist of the Togas, Daggers, and Magic series, an historical-fantasy blend of a paranormal detective on the background of ancient Rome.


Assaph has been a bibliophile since he learnt to read at the age of five, and a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy - he whinged horribly when they dragged him to "yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling", yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art. 

He has since been feeding his addiction for books with stories of mystery and fantasy of all kinds. A few years ago he randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair, and fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. His main influences in writing are Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Barry Hughart and Boris Akunin. 

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife, kids, cats, and - this being Australia - assorted spiders. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he's writing - he seems to do his best writing after midnight.



Twitter: @assaphmehr