Monday, February 6, 2017

Microreview [book]: Idle Ingredients, by Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace serves up another outrageously delicious helping of Sin du Jour.

Aficionados of Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour novellas have come to expect absolutely wild creativity and a balls and ovaries to the wall style of writing. Whether we’re talking about the secret ingredient in Chicken Nuggies to a human / goblin wedding devolving into a weird orgy to the use of the Easter Bunny and Cupid as literal assassins from hell, Matt Wallace continues to raise the bar of the insanity of Sin du Jour.

If the beginning of Idle Ingredients feels like Matt Wallace is taking a moment to breathe, what I mean is that Pride’s Spell ended with such a cataclysmic battle featuring the intercession of an actual angel that the characters (and perhaps the reader) need a moment to recover and reset. Wallace provides that moment, but from the start we know something is off.

Lena left Sin du Jour and has been out of contact for a month, but it isn’t long before she is pulled back because no matter how much more time she needs, the fallout from Pride's Spell means that leaving just isn't an option. Also, she's pretty much the lead player in the ensemble cast so we can't go too far away without her.

The team at Sin du Jour is preparing for another catering event (being a catering company and all), this time for a political rally, and it's all hands on deck - except that all of the men are pretty much out of commission and it's up to the women to figure out why and save the day.

If I said that Matt Wallace takes a moment to breathe, I do not mean to imply that Idle Ingredients is anything less than fully awesome or that Wallace doesn't come back swinging.  There are still gonzo moments, most notably the image of Moon and an off-the-clock Cupid playing Gears of War in Moon’s apartment – which may not sound quite so crazy, but if you remember Cupid's appearance in Pride’s Spell, it’s a fairly remarkable moment that will likely leave you shaking your head.

I'll be upfront that I'm a bit of mark for Matt Wallace's Sin du Jour series, but Idle Ingredients continues to live up to Wallace's implied promise to continue to tell a kick ass story every time out. Matt Wallace and Sin du Jour are the real deal and if you're not reading these novellas for some reason, you're really missing out.  As I mentioned in my Nanoreview of Pride's Spell: It's Matt Wallace, he's brutal and just fucking brilliant.

The Math

Baseline Assessment: 9/10

Bonuses: +1 for the aforementioned scene of Moon and Cupid

Penalties: -1 because more than the first three volumes, Idle Ingredients very much depends on knowing what has previously gone down and having a connection to the characters.

Nerd Coefficient: 9/10 "Very High Quality / Standout in its Category". See more about our scoring system here.

Reference: Wallace, Matt. Idle Ingredients [ Publishing, 2017]

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004. Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015, editor since 2016. Minnesotan.