Jodie Taylor’s Just One Damned Thing After Another is a fantastic read. The opening of a series, it’s a story about disaster-prone historians and their exploits at research with, well, time machines. It’s a combination pretty much guaranteed to deliver action and disaster, and Taylor’s book does just that. That, however, isn’t the defining characteristic of the book. Where the author really excels is in the characters, and the book is full of wonderful, believable characters – a treasure trove of vivid personalities with more sense of adventure than judgement or wisdom, and foremost among them is the novel’s protagonist, Max, whose eyes we see historial research institute of St Mary’s for the first time as she joins a motley bunch of quirky characters.
The novel’s fast-paced but loses nothing because of it. The author’s great at getting to the essence of characters very quickly, and the book grabs you by the scruff of the neck in the first chapter and doesn’t let up until the end. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but the book is sharp, funny, and thoroughly absorbing.
After a break from reading, I felt like picking up something entertaining, and this book was more than up to the task. I read it in under 24 hours and am already itching to find out what happens in the next volume of The Chronicles of St Mary’s.