Here’s the thing about Laura Resnick’s Unsympathetic Magic. I decided to read it because I needed something entertaining but undemanding. And when I’m in that kind of mood, I usually read very quickly indeed: skimming over the top, as it were, because I don’t have enough brainpower to go more deeply.
It is therefore a problem when I, reading in this mode, nevertheless spend a quarter of the book yelling at the characters to pay attention to a blatantly obvious threat. And that’s putting aside my spotting the villain immediately, because that involved metatextual reasons that I can’t properly attribute to the characters.
(I also have issues with a key scene between Esther and her on-again, off-again love interest, but by that point I was pretty much just trying to get to the end, already.)
In short, this series is now on probation: if the next book has the same issues, I’m dropping the series.
Finally, I should note that this book is about Haitian Vodou, and while its treatment of the religion seemed balanced and respectful to me (including some extensive conversational infodumps—hooray skimming!), it’s not my tradition or culture and there may well be subtleties that escaped me.