From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.
“Nor’s little room was lit by a solitary candle. Nor licked her finger and passed it over the flame. The flame danced. It was beautiful; so beautiful it was easy to forget that it could be dangerous as well. Or perhaps it seemed beautiful because it was dangerous. Just like the storm that raged outside her room. Just like her mother.”
The words were so beautifully written and flowed like a classic novel. The cover and red pages are creepy yet alluring. And the Witches story in between clawed their way into your brain and made you think twice about who to trust.
I wanted to be terrified with this story and fuel the fire that is my love for Witches but it was kind of a letdown. It started off very good and creepy but it lost me when Fern popped back up into town. And the end of the last chapter before the epilogue had me shrugging and screaming, that’s it? That end was the worst part of all. But the end of the epilogue put a tad bit more faith into this book.
I really hope there is a second book to this one because Nor’s story is far from over.
I would recommend this book, given its flaws. The atmospheric presence is definitely worth it.