My Rating: 5 Stars!
Cover Rating: 10/10 originally I was thinking about putting a 8 or 9 out of 10, but then I saw the pictures of the hardback copies and I realized that this is 100% a 10/10 cover! All I wanted when I saw the picture of Lesley’s book on her twitter was to hold it in my hands. Plus it fits so much of the story so well!
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publish Date: March 13th, 2018
Number of Pages: 288
Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.
Opening Sentence: “They have been called many things.”
A special sort of magic lives inside Leslye’s books. The Price Guide to the Occult is no exception. It is lyrical, beautiful, and brutal. The subtleties of Leslye’s writing blows me away. Any lover of witches and oddly beautiful writing should pick this book up.
What I Loved:
The Idea. I want to go inside Leslye’s brain just to see where these really unique ideas come from? A book around a magical Price Guide? Where does that come from?
The detail. Leslye is brilliant at creating atmosphere. She uses everything at her disposal to create this lush gem of a story that evokes unease. It’s the little things that you might not even notice but subconsciously while reading that just make the book that much more interesting. I just love how this is written!
It is on par with reality. If someone came out and started granting everyone’s wishes for a price and could prove their legitimacy the world would scramble to get in on the offer. The utter chaos and following that Nor’s mother causes and creates is very accurate and believable.
The magic. I love the varied abilities and how they are used. I love it when a novel is unique with how it creates abilities. Plus my favorite ability, knowing the thoughts of animals, has always been interesting to me.
The story nuance. I really loved that even though there was a main story. The story was layered with subplots that were just as interesting as the main plot. A lot of times sub-plot isn’t done well and I was happy to see how wonderfully it is done in The Price Guide.
Both Leslye’s novels could be described as strange and wonderful. The Price Guide to the Occult on its own is layered, rich, and undeniably magical. I loved every single moment of reading it!
About the Author:
Leslye Walton was born in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps because of this, Leslye has developed a strange kinship with the daffodil–she too can only achieve beauty after a long, cold sulk in the rain. She was named a William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist for the publication of her novel The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. The book received several accolades, including the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Pacific Northwest Book Award, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and was short-listed for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. The book was also number one on the Spring 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List, and was named one of the best books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, the Boston Globe, Bustle, Hudson Booksellers, Amazon, and more.
Leslye is a full-time writer currently living in Seattle, Washington with her chihuahuas, Mr. Darcy and Doc Holliday. Her next novel, The Price Guide to the Occult, comes out March 2018.
Thanks so much for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!
-Till next time!