Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.
During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?
Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.
When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?
It’s buddy read time again! I think I can speak for both Susan and I when I say we weren’t 100% sure we were going to like this one, and whereas I loved it, Susan found some sticking points that she couldn’t get over. As usual, thanks to time zones etc, Susan’s review will be coming a little later than mine, but I will link to it here once it’s posted.
Dan and Liss were best friends, inseparable, until one fateful night changed everything. Liss moved away and Dan was left to torture herself over the events of that night, that is until she meets Alexa. Alexa seems to understand Dan in a way Liss never could, knowing when she needs to talk about things and never taking ‘im fine’ for an answer. Then one night Liss appears, she wants to talk to Dan about that night, the night that Johnny was taken from them. As Dan gets pulled into Liss’ orbit again, Alexa has to deal with her own problems, secrets her aunt was keeping that turn into Alexa’s own. But secrets have to come out, and it’s only when all the girls are honest with each other and themselves that they realise they will need to work together to save Johnny from an evil bigger than they had imagined.
A Wicked Magic is told from three perspectives; Dan, Liss and Alexa, and flits between the present as well as giving us flashbacks to the events leading up to Johnny’s disappearance. Each girl has their own trauma they are trying to deal with: Dan is depressed, depressed enough to hurt herself, she longs for happiness and some semblance of normality but doesn’t know if she deserves it, or if she would even notice it if it hit her in the face. Liss is caving under the pressure from her parents, her home life filled with an absent father and alcoholic mother is not as idyllic as the outside world seems to think it is. She longs to be the best at everything, even if that means putting her friendships second. Alexa has been living with her aunt after her mother decided that she didn’t want to deal with her anymore. She is terrified that Lorelai will realise that Alexa is a burden she doesn’t want to deal with, and that fear of abandonment leaks into her friendship with Dan. I will say there are a lot of trigger warnings in this book, mainly coming from the characters trauma: Self harm, depression, drug use and under age relationships.
The author manages to add a 4th character to the book with the setting. Her descriptions of the Northern Carolina coastline were atmospheric and extremely creepy in parts. Dark twisty roads, damp and dangerous beach caves and just enough of a small town setting to give you that eerie vibe. Her descriptive writing of both the setting and of magic had me gripped from early on in the book, and there were definite ‘heart beating out of my chest’ moments thanks to the atmosphere her writing created.
This book was so much darker than I expected it to be. Throughout the book we follow two story lines, the present, where the girls are trying to find out where Johnny is/ who has him and the events leading up the night Johnny disappeared. This is masterfully done in my opinion, as most of the way through the book you are kept questioning what actually happened that night? Was Johnny’s disappearance intentional? Do Dan or Liss know more than they are letting on? We get our answers before the end of the book but I liked the mystery is gave the story, never quite knowing if I could trust people completely.
My main tagline for this book was ‘called it.’ Susan will tell you I had a pretty close guess for some major plot points, BUT I didn’t see this as a bad thing. The author left us little crumbs of information throughout the book, little hints here are there and I just latched onto them. It wasn’t predictable in the sense that you knew how the book was going to end 20% in. But Laurens just gives you enough information to make some educated guesses. There were also a few twists that I did not see coming at all, parts had me like WTF!?!
If you like dark atmospheric books, filled with real and twisted characters and magic then this is definitely the book for you!