A Quarrel Called reminds me of the kind of book that would make a great comic but perhaps can feel underdeveloped in novel form. As written, with alternating and very brief viewpoints from four characters, it can be confusing and hard to really get into any of the characters. Each seems very underdeveloped and more like caricatures rather than actual characters. But it is a fun little YA read with a very ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ vibe.
Story: Melody’s brother is missing, presumed dead, and her best friend, Tara, believes in using New Age remedies to help Melody understand several supernatural occurrences since her brother’s disappearance. Sam is in love with Melody but has to accept the friendship card. G moves into town and Tara immediately falls for him. What the four don’t know is that they are about to be united into a Quarrel – for each has a supernatural power that will help them to solve the mystery of Melody’s brother’s suspected murder.
As noted, I had a hard time getting into the characters. Each viewpoint was only a few pages long and so we jumped into different perspectives constantly. Additionally problematic is that I never got the impression that these were different people – they each felt like the same person. I would have liked to see many more tics to help differentiate the characters better. That would have made the alternating POVs easier to follow.
The story is fairly straightforward with enough mystery to keep readers wanting to reach the end. We do finish a bit of an arc with this first book with plenty of mystery to solve in future volumes. The characters themselves are very ‘Scooby Gang’ and should appeal to fans of Joss Whedon. But at the same time, I would hope author Wendtland works on nuance and character development to help gives us much more grounded, realistic, and interesting protagonists. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.