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The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton - Review

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Where did I get it? At the library where it was new in 

What's it about? It's set on a strange island in the Pacific Northwest, and at the beginning we learn about Rona Blackburn, a witch, who landed there over a century ago. She was treated badly by the eight families already there, so she cursed them and their descendants. She had a daughter, and her daughter had a daughter, and now Nor Blackburn is the last of them, the eighth from Rona. She just wants to live a normal teenage life, but that's unlikely to happen. 

She lives with her grandmother, and her grandmother's female partner, because her mum disappeared when Nor was little, leaving her pretty traumatised. Nor works in the island's witchy shop, and one day she sees a new book - The Price Guide to the Occult - in which a witch is selling dangerous spells. Nor is convinced that her mother is responsible for the dark magic contained within the spells, and she knows that casting such dark magic requires terrible sacrifices - that she has lived through before.

I loved the mythology of this book. The setting of the island, of Rona and her family, and of her legacy on the island were all well thought out and nicely described; I could picture the place so well and I loved the characters of many of the islanders. Nor is a likeable if unwilling hero, and I liked her house and its inhabitants too. I thought there were parts when nothing happened and it made time skip oddly, but I liked the ending and felt it was really fraught with menace. The book really reads like it's the first in a series and I would definitely read more because I liked the setting a lot. 

What age range is it for? 14=, probably, depending on the 14 year old. It does have a real sense of doom to it and there are some traumatic parts. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, and it's entirely unremarkable, which I really liked. 

Are any main characters people of colour? I don't think so? Oh, maybe Nor's grandma's girlfriend? I'm sorry, it's been a while since I read it 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yeah, I think Nor has some mental health issues going on. She is also scarred, but I don't think it's badly. 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes, I think so? 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, and some of it could be triggering because it's quite gory. 

Are there swear words? I don't think so. 

What criticisms do I have? Almost none, apart from the random time jumps which I found odd. 

Would I recommend the book? Yep definitely. I don't know this author but I'm really glad I took a chance on this book! 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? It just intrigued me in the library 

What other books is it like? I think it's a lot like the Raven Cycle books by Maggie Stiefvater, it has the same feeling of magic and non-magic worlds crashing together. 

How many stars? Four out of five 

Where is the book going now? It went back to the library just before Christmas!

1 comment

  1. Very unique book. Excellent story and entertaining. Perfect for those of use who like obscure characters and great writing.




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