Atmospheric, yes. Well-plotted? Mostly.The Pri…

Atmospheric, yes. Well-plotted? Mostly.

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Nor Blackburn is the 8th daughter of the great witch Rona Blackburn. After arson destroyed her home, Rona cursed herself, her children, and the residents of the Anathema Island. Nor just wants to be unremarkable and invisible, except she seems to have more power than any Blackburn witch that came before her, maybe even Rona. Nor’s mother Fern publishes a book that purports to sell spells– any spell– for a price. Except the price paid and the price listed are not quite the same thing. Now Nor must find a way to protect her island and those she loves, even from her own mother.

I liked the Price Guide a lot for it’s atmosphere, setting, characters, and thematic elements. I did not love the plot. The plot itself is kind of weak. It meanders a bit, rushing towards confrontations and then oddly setting them aside, and sort of unravels at the end, where you are left with a slightly inexplicable cliffhanger of sorts. But the setting! The lushness of description, the vividness of the prose– totally great. It’s moody, dark, unafraid to be scary at times, and filled with delightful little touches of wonder and mystery. Even though it was violent and bloody, I wanted to live in Nor’s world, where amazing magics live hand in hand with the mundane. 

4 stars.