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Review: Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tzavelas

Review: Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tzavelas published on 6 Comments on Review: Matchbox Girls by Chrysoula Tzavelas

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For a thousand years, the half-breed nephilim have kept the angels and Fallen from meddling in the world. And the angels would do anything to change that. Destroy cities. Turn oceans to blood. Raise the dead. Sacrificing two powerful little girls should be easy.

Except… the two little girls are protected by one mortal woman.

Haunted by visions of catastrophe and crippling anxiety attacks, Marley Claviger has never heard of any celestial cold war. But when the twin daughters of a friend come to her for help, she will do whatever it takes to save them. Even if it means working with Fallen, discovering the nephilim, and facing the source of her power.

The first paragraph of Matchbox Girls is revelatory in a subtle way – a black dream has Marley Claviger reaching for her phone seconds before it rings. She dismisses it, but we, the readers, know this is something important, something to be explored later. Her dream was obviously prescient, and Marley had no idea – why? I read books for a lot of different reasons: love for reading, learning binge, bored on the toilet, need to write a review, etc. But no matter what reason drove me to pick up a book and flip to the first chapter, my very favorite feeling is that moment when my mind engages and asks why.

senyazaMatchbox Girls is crowded with answers. It might, perhaps, be overly crowded with answers. In the space of a couple of days, Marley’s life cracks open and in the light of truth, a lot of truths come scurrying out: angels are real! so are fairies! lawyers are evil! you’re surrounding by things you don’t understand. It happens fast. One moment, Marley is receiving a phone call from a set of twins she met at the park – and for whom she assumes guardianship after their uncle disappears – and the next her life is utterly and irrevocably changed in many (almost too many) ways.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel is Marley herself. She is about as far as one can get from a standard Urban Fantasy heroine. She is no ass-kicker, but she is anxiety-ridden, terribly sad, and these traits are so apparent that even a couple of four year olds know she needs medication. Marley is crippled by her own anxiety, and throughout the book it is not entirely defeated. It’s refreshing to see such a heroine in a fantasy novel.

I’m pleased I read this, and I recommend that you do as well. It’s smarter than a lot of urban fantasy, it’s engaging, and it will make you want to read more about Marley.


As an Air Force kid, Chrysoula went to twelve schools in twelve years and spent a lot of time wondering what made people tick. Books, it turned out, helped with that question.These days she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, which includes many small and demanding creatures who fight over her attention. Her first book, urban fantasy MATCHBOX GIRLS, was originally published in 2012 by the small press Candlemark & Gleam, followed annually by two more books in the same SENYAZA Series, all of which explore the impact of the supernatural on different lives. Her current release is a collection of short stories in the same setting, followed by another novel this autumn.

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website Twitter @chrysoula | Facebook

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J Wilbanks

J Wilbanks

Reviewer and Columnist at Galleywampus
She has a cat.
J Wilbanks


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