Friday, January 15, 2021

Book Review: A Curse of Ash & Embers

TGIF, baby. TGIF. Although this week went by rather quick, it was a complete change in my daily pace and change is hard. The kids went back to regular (well, hybrid) school and that was great but it was also a huge change and now I feel like I have to get used to an entirely new schedule. Once I get used to a schedule and make myself new patterns, something changes and I have to start all over again.  

It's really hard and sucky. 

I also didn't get as much reading in as I had hoped, but I was able to start/finish this one and I am happy about that. 

A Curse of Ash & Embers - Jo Spurrier

A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.

Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.

But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it's Elodie's job to clean up the mess.

When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she'd find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.

Gyssha's final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie's help, whether she likes it or not.

And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it's still better than going back home.
I always forget how much I like witch books until I'm elbow deep into a witch book, and then I wonder why I'm not looking for these more often. Also, I don't even know what my last witch book was, and that's just sad. The great thing is that this is the first book in The Blackbone Witches series, which makes me excited because I cannot wait for book two. 

In this one, we begin with Elodie, the oldest child of her family, who is being unceremoniously sent away for no reason. She's sure that her step-father has done this and she can't understand why her mother is OK with it, but it's clear that it isn't a happy household. While she's partly excited to leave home and be away from her step-father, she's concerned about her siblings and it's abundantly clear that she won't be welcomed back. She has a new job, essentially, for a mistress she knows nothing about in a place she has never been. On her strange trip, she realizes her mistress is a witch who is in dire straits. Elodie doesn't know quite is wrong with her, though it's fairly obvious she's not able to care for herself, and this totally wrecked home. 

It doesn't take long for Elodie to notice things aren't quite normal. We have warlocks on weird horses, a demon tree that was grown too large, strange monsters running amuck, and some other strange characters you don't quite know what to think about. It also becomes obvious that her mistress, Aleida, is a bit outmatched and she needs Elodie's help even though Elodie knows next to nothing about magic or witches, but she's going to learn because she has no other real option. 

I really liked this story, and the pace is fantastic. Sometimes with fantasy is gets a little sluggish, but I felt like this one had things happening right away and every time I got to a spot that was a good place to pause... I kept going "just to make sure" and sure enough, something else would happen. Needless to say, this was hard to put down for me. I also really enjoyed trying to figure out what happened with Gyssha, who some of these other characters were and what their part was, and trying to figure out just what the heck was going on and why. Both Aleida and Elodie are similar, having had really awful people manipulate and treat them badly, in different ways, and they come together to form an unlikely duo, two very different young women from very different backgrounds. 

Overall? I really liked this one and I'm anxious to see what the next adventure for Aleida and Elodie are. You find yourself rooting for them both, and for a young adult paranormal book, it has strong female characters with a "you can't always trust what people say" kind of theme to it. Highly recommend. 

Thank you to HarperCollins for my copy for review! Next up? Book two, Daughter of Lies and Ruin. 

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1 comment:

Shooting Stars Mag said...

So glad you enjoyed this one! I don't read tons of witch books, but I do find them fascinating. Hopefully you'll like the second book just as much.

And yay for Friday!!!