Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer Book Review
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As a witch, the conservative Irish town Dayne resides in would never accept her let alone her reverend father. Dealing with the fallout of her bisexuality being revealed is hard enough. Every day she is tormented with whispers and rumors at school. If her witch nature were to be exposed, it would be even worse. Her saving grace is the family of witches who have accepted her as their own. But the town will soon have more than witches to worry about. A serial killer named The Butcher has begun killing women. And Dayna may be next.
The family dynamics in Witches of Ash and Ruin reminded me of Practical Magic. I loved how easy going and heartfelt the Callighans were with Dayna. Their use of magic and communion with nature was wonderful to read about. They were always ready with tea, or a treat when Dayna was having an off day. In general they were there to comfort her and make sure she was ok. And despite Dayna’s father being a reverend and adamantly against witchcraft, they never spoke ill of him. They were a sharp contrast to the second witch family introduced into the story, the Kings.
The Kings brought to the story a bitter and grim side to witchcraft. Their coven leader was quick to strike out at her witchlings should they disobey her. Grandma King was also willing to dip into the darker side of magic to make sure her goals were attained. With such contrasting views on magic, having the two covens work together towards a common goal created a wonderful mix of events.
While the witches were well flushed out and their histories explained, the antagonists of the story needed a bit more information. I understand to some extent The Butcher plot line needed to keep an air of mystery. But from the start readers learn there are three brother’s behind the serial killings. I would have liked to see the three brothers working together and interacting more. Readers did gain a sense that they did not generally like each other, but a bit more showing would have been a great way to build up tension. They did receive their own chapters, but they were far less in comparison to the witches.
Another character I would have liked to see more of was Samuel. Obsessed with The Butcher, Samuel tracked the serial killer for years. His knowledge was a great way to add him into Dayna’s story. Not to mention the history the two characters had. While he wove in and out of the story, he never received a resolution by the end. His character sort of faded into the background right at a pivotal development point. I wanted to see the results of his discoveries and how they affected him as a person.
Witches of Ash and Ruin is a great novel if you enjoy stories of witches and Celtic mythology. It is marketed as a standalone novel, but the story arcs don’t really come to a conclusion by the end. I hope to see a sequel to this novel as I am invested in the characters of this world.
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