Olivia Calabrese values family and loyalty above everything else. Olivia has already made her first kill on behalf of the family, a gesture to show she's serious about taking part in the family business. The Calabrese family is renown for selling magically imbued charms outlawed for their tendency to turn their users into animalistic berserkers. Olivia is determined to become head of the family business but learning the source of their magical power has her questioning everything she ever knew.
The Toil And Trouble Trilogy: Book One is an urban fantasy story. Olivia is a young protagonist so the story has a young adult feel but the overall story gives it a darker and edgier perspective. It took me the first two chapters to adjust to the cadence of the narration but I found it an engaging read from that point onward.
I adored Olivia's character, she's a strong heroine that continually grows throughout the story. I liked that her moral dilemmas were framed within such a dark and violent setting. Characterization in general was great for all the characters and I liked how well suited the dialogue was for them all.
I loved the amount of detail that went into the magic system and world building. The berserkers were interesting creatures and I liked how they were portrayed throughout the story. The incorporation of Italian witchcraft was interesting to read. I liked that it further enhanced characterization by showcasing the cultural beliefs and values of the characters.
The organized crime syndicate operations were also a fun addition and I really liked how it colored the story. A majority of the story is Olivia trying to establish a place for herself within the family business. I liked the drama that surrounded her choice to become head of the family. It was fun seeing her efforts to outmaneuver her rival and also continually face tough decisions that could potentially make her lose face.
The Macbeth influences felt a bit heavy to me mainly because I'm not overly familiar with the play. The story did a good job of summarizing and clarifying embedded references though I still wondered if I was missing out on something.
Overall, I found Book One to be an enjoyable read and I look forward to continuing the trilogy.
The Toil And Trouble Trilogy: Book Two
The Toil And Trouble Trilogy: Book Three