|| Book Review || Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart ||
Genre: Fantasy, Witches
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: April 20th 2021
To sum up Witches Steeped in Gold would be very difficult as it is a deep, intricate story with so much to give but that for me, ultimately lacked that “spark”.
We have black (Jamaican) witches, magic, betrayal, murder, a little bit of romance and a whole lot more… so what is it missing?
I think the major problem that I had with this book was with the style of writing. I read this as part of our book club that is not a book club on Twitter and to quote fellow reader, Hannah “It just feels really wordy”. I find it hard to describe it better than that personally. The book is full of incredibly long, descriptive sentences that almost feel like it is trying too hard and for me personally this made it really difficult to connect with the story as I was often having to reread sentences in order to make sense of them.
I also think that although the world that the author is trying to build here is quite brilliant it is also too big and with too much unexplained history and backstory. A lot of words are used to describe certain things that are never explained and you are just left to guess what they actually mean in the context of the story and that really annoyed me.
Another point to mention is that this is a dual POV book which I normally get along well with but with this book it didn’t really work that well. The two main characters are actually quite similar and often the move from one POV to another didn’t flow that well and they become easy to mix up. I wasn’t that keen on either of the characters. I didn’t connect with either of them and didn’t really care what either of them were doing. They both share the same goal in the story so although they are inherently enemies they must work together to achieve what they both want… to kill the current Doyenne (the ruler of the island).
The plot build up was super slow in my opinion and the world building not particularly well done. Even after finishing the book I am still not sure that I fully understood everything that I read. The magic system is quite complex and for me not very well explained.
All in all the entire book felt like a drag for me because of the above mentioned points. I was just bored most of the way through. I almost DNF’d this book quite a few times and I know that a few in our book club actually did decide to put it down somewhere in the middle.
I personally am glad that I persevered with it as the pace and action did pick up a little bit in the final part of the book and it ended up sitting as a sort of “middle of the road” book for me. The ending was quite twisty and everything was turned upside down… characters changed and real motives were revealed that was actually quite interesting.
I think if lessons were learned from what didn’t work so well in this book then a sequel could be far better as it definitely sets you up for more of the world. I think that this book will work for a lot of people and I hope that my review will help you figure out if this is a book for you or not. If there is a sequel I do think that I would read it as there is so much potential with this world and I’d love to see it become something great.
Read Witches Steeped in Gold if you like…
— Jamaican cultural representation/black witch power
— An intricate magical system
— Enemies to allies
— Morally grey characters
“Spending a lifetime pinned, like a butterfly to a board, seems like a waste when I was made to fly.”