E. Latimer is a fantasy writer from Victoria, BC. Her middle grade novel, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray was published by Tundra Books, and was recently nominated for the Red Maple Fiction Award.
In her spare time, she writes books, makes silly vlogs with the Word Nerds about writing, and reads excessively.
Her latest novel, Witches of Ash and Ruin, will be released Spring/Summer 2020 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.
With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that’s impossible to put down.
You all know me and mythology! So when I got the email to apply for the blog tour for this book I jumped at the chance. I’d read a couple of review’s but nothing could have prepared me for the brilliant adventure this book took me on.
Dayna Walsh is a Witch, or at least she will be once she ascends. A truth that is kept secret from her family and the majority of her friends due to her father being the local preacher. He denounces witchcraft as the devils work and wouldn’t look too fondly on his daughter practising the craft. When a coven from another part of Ireland arrive in town with a legendary witch known to practice black magic, and a serial killer thought to be dead starts killing in the town, Dayna and her coven are out at risk. Not just because of the dark witch, but the murderer is killing witches and Dayna and her coven are next on the list. When they realise who the murderer is, and what their grand plan entails, they must work together with the unknown coven to save, not just their lives, but the lives of all witches.
This was such a brilliantly written story. I loved the blend of old Celtic mythology and magic with the trials and tribulations of modern day Ireland. The story effortlessly weaves the two together and it makes for a really intriguing and unique read. The authors writing style is immersive, you feel the spells being cast and find yourself their amidst the final battle. And her characters add to an already well built and enveloping story by being easily likeable and I had little issue bonding with them.
The story is told from five perspectives; Dayna, Meiner, Cora, Sam & Dubh. Each have their own unique voice and bring much needed information to the plot at pivotol points. Dayna is the main narrator and I found her voice to be one I liked instantly. Between her OCD, crazy pastor father, mother coming back from a ‘church camp’ and being a witch her life is overly complicated, but you can see that being a with gives her the greatest amount of pleasure, It was who she was meant to be, and her coven, Reagan, Yemi, Faye, Brenna and Bronagh are more family to her than her parents have ever been. Meiner was an intriguing viewpoint to read from. Her Grandmother was the famous King Witch, rumoured to have eaten mens heart and performed the blackest of magic. All Meiner knows is that the old woman is going senile and she’s unsure whether following her advice to come to Carman and meet the Callighan coven was a good idea. Emotionally distant, always quick to anger and slow to trust, growing up with her grandma has given her a rather jaded view on life, but meeting Dayna and the Callighan’s might just change that. Cora is part of Meiner’s coven and they are past lovers, constant rivals and sometimes reluctant friends. Constantly vying for Grandma King’s approval and both eager to become the next coven leader. Cora’s viewpoint add’s a different side to the story, one that most of the other players are unaware of and I found this a really intriguing way to expand on the storyline. Dubh is one of three gods destined to bring back a god long lost to the world. Between him and Sam, Dayna’s ex and serial killer expert, their viewpoints didn’t add a whole lot to the story line, except creeping me out and I felt that the story could have been told without them
There’s some great LGBTQ rep in this book with the two leads being queer, as well as another couple that is featured prominently. I felt like the romance in general was well paced and perfectly written for the age group of the characters. It didn’t overshadow the story line at any point, and progressed well through the book.
I was unsure whether this was part of a series before starting, but after reading the ending I need book two asap. I truly did not see the ending coming and it certainly leaves you as the reader eager for more. An easy 4/5 for me and I will definitely be reading the sequel.
The publishers are giving away one copy of this awesome book and you can enter here. (US residents only.)