Initial Thoughts: I had initially seen The Price Guide to the Occult listed in the Goodreads Giveaway section. The title “The Price Guide to the Occult” was so interesting, I had signed up for the giveaway before even reading the synopsis. Eventually, I ended up getting an approval for this book on Netgalley and I jumped at the chance to read it!
The Blackburn women are cursed. Ever since the extraordinary witch Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island centuries ago and was shunned by the eight “original” settlers, Blackburn witches have been doomed to carry out a brief whirlwind affair with a descendant of the Original Eight. The vengeful curse, however, had unintended side effects: it diluted the Blackburns’ supernatural powers. That’s perfectly all right with seventeen-year-old Nor Blackburn. All she wants is a quiet, unremarkable life—her powers are blissfully unexceptional, her love life pretty much nonexistent. Nor hopes the curse has played itself out through enough generations that she’ll finally be spared the drama. But when a mysterious book comes out promising to cast any spell for the right price, Nor senses a dark storm headed straight for Anathema—and straight for her.” – Goodreads
I believed, surely a book with such an interesting title would have an equally interesting story. Well, I was wrong, unfortunately. The Price Guide to the Occult does not live up to its title in originality and intrigue.
For centuries, Blackburn women have been ostracized as witches on the island of Anathema. Blackburn women are doomed to have a love affair lasting but three days. Nor, the last of the Blackburn women has done everything in her power to be under the radar, even if it means to hide her supernatural powers. But, when her estranged mother, Fern publishes a book, The Price Guide to the Occult, Nor finds her powers awakening. As The Price Guide to the Occult becomes a bestseller, Fern’s popularity grows and her hunger for world domination is unquenched. It is up to Nor, the last of the Blackburn women, to stop her mother before its too late.
As much as I love a good witch story with magic, this one fell entirely flat. Nor’s under-the-radar character did not hide any mysterious secrets, she was basically inaccessible as a main character. The other characters, like Nor’s mother Fern, had so much potential, but she was little more than a villain on a power trip gone horribly wrong. The storyline itself was slow paced, but never really amounted to anything. Even the romance, which could have been the only redeeming feature of this book, left me utterly confused. Why build up romantic tension when you’re just going to forget about the romantic interest part way through the book? The moment I believed that the story was starting to pick up speed, I would be thoroughly disappointed. Any shred of originality was squashed by the banality of the storyline. Once I reached the ending, I began to wonder if I missed the action in the story. If The Price Guide to the Occult was supposed to be a coming of age story, Nor remained mostly unchanged at the end of the novel.
Although I knew that there were mentions of self-harm in this novel before I began reading The Price Guide to the Occult, I hadn’t realized how much of the novel was devoted to descriptions of self-harm. After a while, it became excessive and uncomfortable. The worst part is, Nor’s problem of self-harm is never full addressed by anyone or even herself. The lack of closure regarding Nor’s self-harm made this book a slightly disturbing read.
All in all, I would not recommend this book for its lack of storyline and lack of engaging characters.
*I received an advanced copy of The Price Guide to the Occult from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
The Price Guide to the Occult will be released on March 13, 2018.
About the Book
Title: The Price Guide to the Occult Author: Leslye Walton Year Published: March 13, 2018 Genres & Subjects: young adult, fiction, magic, magic realism, witches
Where to Buy…
Amazon (United States)
Until Next Time,