Title: The Price Guide to the Occult
By: Leslye Walton
Published: March 13th 2018
By: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA-Magic-Magical Realism-Paranormal-Family-Romance
Buy it: Book Depository
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.
I LOVED IT, has nurtured my love for witches even more, it’s such a beautifully atmospheric book, I feel that it was exactly what I needed. Deal with sensitive issues such as self-harm and abuse, so I want to warn you about that.
The story follows Nor Blackburn, she’s the descendant of Rona Blackburn who was, long time ago, a very powerful witch who came to the island of Anathema with the hope of creating a life there. But the 8 original colonists of the island blamed her for things that happened and decided to kill the witch that was causing her problems, but Rona managed to escape and cursed the colonists. Now we go back to Nor, who doesn’t want to be more than a normal teenager, but with an extraordinary magical power and a curse that chases her lineage, that will be a bit difficult to achieve. One day this book called “The Price Guide to the Occult” appears and promises to be able to cast any kind of spell for a certain price, but this book will only bring darkness to the island since its author is nothing less than Nor’s mother, which arrival will only bring darkness.
The Price Guide to the Occult, is such a deep and dark book, but at the same time it’s very light to read, in fact I’m surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I have, being honest I didn’t have big expectations, I’m sorry book! LOL. But .it knew how to captivate me with its captivating plot, mysterious characters and its beautiful writing style
I think that although it’s a very short book in fact makes you feel many things, Nor’s life has been so difficult as a child, her mother is an evil woman who did terrible things with her, and all this has left large sequels in Nor. She has attempt against her own life on several occasions but we can see how little by little she’s getting stronger and somehow manages to overcome all the darkness that haunts her.
Her story being so painful made me as a reader immediately felt attached to her and want her to be happy. One thing I admire a lot about this main character is that she doesn’t play at being the victim at any time, she in fact almost never shares what happened to her to anyone. I think I saw something very positive about her, Nor’s very sweet with others and she really cares, and that shows a lot of strength in her, I like that
Talking about the plot in general, I liked it a lot, I think the ending was weird, I’m not sure, maybe it was too fast or too light for me, even so I enjoyed the dialogues, there is something very epic on them lol.
The epilogue promises that there may be another book after this one, which would make me very happy. But honestly I think that from beginning until a little more than the half of it, is the strong part and is the one that I’ve enjoyed the most, I like how atmospheric it turned out to be, the island and its descriptions are beautiful and at the same time sombre, which It makes it the perfect setting for this kind of stories. Although the book focuses a lot on the Blackburn family and magic, they can also see other characters and other families that connect with the main story in a very interesting way
The characters are great, I will not talk about Nor again because you already know that I love her, but there is another ones that are perfect for the book, the writer has a lot of talent to write characters, that’s for sure.
We have Savvy, she’s Nor’s best friend, and she’s absolutely funny and always says what she thinks, I love that. We have Nor’s grandmother, Judd, and she’s so particular and different, I loved this character, besides I was pleasantly surprised to see how Judd is in a relationship with another woman and the dynamic between them together with Nor is fantastic, the natural that this relationship is, has been so pleasant to read. Then we have Gage and I really don’t know why I liked him so much, I think I would have liked him to have a stronger role in the plot but I really liked him, I guess it’s the typical bad guy who is not that bad (I’m a cliche lol). And finally we have Reed and oh god is the sweetest guy ever, I love him, I feel like he’s like Simon of Shadow Hunters or something like that.
Honestly, I liked even the bad characters, it’s funny cause there’s always someone I don’t like but in this book I could talk about them forever, there’s something so natural in the way they’re created, you just start reading about them and you feel you know them since ever and with that said, you can imagine how well written this book is!
The writing style is very beautiful, the way in which the chapters are divided and they begin with a Rona’s phrase, is very engaging. But at the same time I think it’s not complex at all, it’s a simply beautiful and poetic writing, that kind of writing that works perfectly for this kind of story
I highly recommend this book if you want a magical, atmospheric and quick to read story. That I’ve emphasized its simplicity doesn’t mean that it doesn’t touch strong issues, it’s necessary to be careful. I think that if you want to have a great time with very well created characters, a couple of curses and a mysterious island, this one is perfect.