Author: Leslye Walton
Publication date: 6th September 2018
Goodreads rating: 3.39
Genre: YA, Fantasy
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Instead, guilt and fear led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona invoked the privileges of a witch; she cursed them. But such a spell always comes with a terrible price, and in punishing the island’s residents, Rona also bound her family ever tighter to them.
Fast-forward to the present day and all Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. And she has reason to hope that she may have escaped the thorny side-effects of the family matriach’s curse. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. The author – Nor’s own mother – seems capable of performing magic that should be far beyond her capabilities. And such magic always requires a sacrifice.
A storm is coming. It’s coming for Nor.
Overall opinion of the book:
I’m a sucker for a good witch book, so naturally when I read the synopses of The Price Guide to the Occult I had to pick up a copy, especially when I realised they were selling early copies of it at YALC.
What was interesting about this book was that Nor is running away from the magical powers she has, when usually main characters want to explore this. Unlike her mother, Nor would rather not practise magic or be a witch at all. I can’t say I’ve read any other book associated with magic or witchcraft where this was the case, which made this book rather intriguing.
I particularly enjoyed Walton’s writing style and choice of language. There were so many moments where her writing was lyrical and beautifully written. Her writing flow was great and she definitely has a natural flair for writing! There were however, a handful of moments in the book where I was a little confused about what was happening in regards to the plot and characters. Subsequently I had to reread certain sections a few times to fully understand fully what was happening as I was a little confused at times. Just because I was sometimes confused with the plot and storyline however, doesn’t mean that other readers were/will be.
The overall plot was interesting and I quickly became invested in Nor’s story and family history. I enjoyed her interactions with nature and reading about her growing love interest too. I initially thought Nor was a simple and plain character, but as the plot progressed, we see that she does have several dimensions and her strength and confidence grows significantly.
The spelling, punctuation and grammar was fantastic. After looking into this book a little more, I realised that it’s a stand alone. If you’ve read this book the you’ll know why I was like “noooo” when I found this out. The ending was definitely an open ended one and it drew me in so much. I’m dying to know more about what could potentially happen and I really do hope that this book has a sequel as I think the plot would be so interesting. This book sets up perfectly for a sequel!
As the trigger warnings above mention, The Price Guide to the Occult does discuss self harm quite heavily. In my opinion the topic was approached in a raw and appropriate manner. It doesn’t romanticise self harm in any way, but does emphasise the dangers of it and why Nor struggles with this. Walton is sensitive towards the subject of self harm and there are also the appropriate numbers to call at the end of the book if readers are struggling with similar things as Nor.
I enjoyed The Price Guide to the Occult, it was interesting and unlike anything I’ve previously read. It deals with sensitive topics in an appropriate manner and if you enjoy books about witches, then I’d certainly recommend it.
Although there were parts to the plot that confused me at times, it was a compelling read. It’s so beautifully written and I hope that Walton writes a sequel to this book!
If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, you can do so here:
Have you read The Price Guide to the Occult? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments. 😊