The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to WizardryThe Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry by CM Waggoner
Published by Ace on January 12, 2021
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

Dellaria Wells is a low-class con artist, petty thief, and fire witch. Perpetually behind on her rent as she’s working on some grift or another, her landlady lays down the law. Pay up or suffer an outbreak of pus-filled boils all over her body.

Delly’s trying to work an angle to score money when she sees the notice looking for “Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage.” Fast-talking herself onto the team means a big payday. She’ll be able to cover her rent and help her mother with her addiction to The Drip.

She joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy client from danger. Protecting a noblewoman for the two weeks before her marriage seems easy enough. Until the accidents start happening.

My thoughts about The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

This was a flat-out, rollicking good adventure full of weird, eccentric, fun characters. You get a mystery, adventure and a romance set in a vaguely Victorian steampunkish world. It’s the same world as CM Waggoner’s first book, Unnatural Magic.

Delly is bawdy and always looking to scam someone but with a good heart and natural leadership under the vulgar, raggedy, and rough exterior. Her love interest is Winn, a half-troll, well-bred lady -pretty much Del’s opposite with her refined ways and proper manners. Yet, I couldn’t stop hoping for their relationship to work.

Lots of fun secondary characters including an older lady necromancer with a reanimated mouse named Buttons who communicates with BONGs – very reminiscent of the Death of Rats in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Your thoughts

The author used speech patterns/dialect to differentiate between the classes in this book. I read other reviews where people said that the words and patterns made it difficult to read.

I thoroughly disagree – I love that Delly talks like a Victorian cutpurse when she first appears and how she struggles to talk in a more well-bred way once she meets Winnifred.

How do you feel about authors using slang or unusual words? Does it add to the authenticity? Or is it distracting and annoying? Let me know in the comments below!

In conclusion

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry was an absolute delight. I enjoyed this a great deal and look forward to reading more of CM Waggoner’s books in the future.

My thanks to Netgalley and Ace for the ARC.

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About CM Waggoner

C.M. Waggoner wrote her first uncomfortable third-person bio in 2019, when it was attached to her debut novel, Unnatural Magic. Right now she’s waiting for her second book, The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, to come out in January 2021. She’s also working on a third novel and messing around with an extra project with 200% more wicked witches and handsome princes in it than all of her previous efforts combined.


  1. Lauren Becker said:

    This does sound really fun!! I don’t mind slang/accents in books, but it can be tough to read if it’s too much.


    January 7, 2021
    • Laura said:

      Yes! I hate when accents throw me out of the story because I’m puzzling out what the heck characters are saying. Wasn’t the case for me with this book, happily.

      January 21, 2021

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