I give this FF fantasy romance a 4.4/5 stars. I believe it’s a standalone because of the great closure. I enjoyed the two points of view from both Tamsin and Wren. In regards to the plot, some comps that come to mind are “A Nature of Witches” and “The Witch Haven.” When it comes to the vibe of the prose and setting I keep thinking of “Edgewood” and “The Darkest Part of the Forest.”
Here are my thoughts live while reading:
So Tamsin can’t love but she can definitely feel bitterness, guilt, boredom, & frustration. In order to feel a moment of love she needs to barter it with townsfolk for helping then with her spells and witchcraft. This 17 year old has already lived a lot of life.
We also get Wren’s point of view. She’s a sweet girl who is trapped taking care of her sick father. Not even he knows she is a Source (someone who harbors power for magic). I love that she can smell magic and see the colors of it too. The Queendom has recently suffered a plague of mental “hollowness” where people seem to lose their memories and soul. Of course the townspeople blame Tamsin who Wren just happens to meet for the first time at the marketplace.
It sounds like by trying to save her twin sister 5 years ago, Tamsin ended up killing her instead. Now she has possession of her deceased sister’s diary and read a random page showing the jealousy that Tamsin’s powers are so strong. Im wondering if Tamsin’s sister has anything to do with this new dark magic curse in their land. By the way the epic map is gorgeous.
So overall I’m having a hard time balancing Wren’s desperate desire to Keene more about magic and joint he coven and her need to keep her father safe. Does she truly and fully love her father or is he more of an obligation or duty? She seems liked she resents him and his deteriorating health which denied her own future. Yet, simultaneously, Wren seems genuinely concerned when the plague got to him.
Sidenote: I like the reasoning of why Wren going to Tamsin. It feels natural this way.
This story is so unique Im loving the world building and how it all works and flows together. It’s basic enough yet elaborate to feel real without much confusion.
Their bickering feels so natural and I love how they’re opposites with Wren feeling like a ball of sunshine and Tamsin is Miss Grouch in the flesh.
At the halfway mark I’m not fully believing that Tamsin can’t love. Because the only way she would feel sad about her twin’s journal entries is if she has remaining love. The only way to feel regret and guilt is because of the underlying love. No one can hate without also feeling love. It seems like her curse to feel nothing should’ve left her more like a zombie or ghost or a shell but she has many negative feelings. Negative feelings can’t happen without a base of love.
The reveal of the high councilor’s identity and the dark witch’s identity were not surprising but still got me very excited because it works so well.
The ending was highly satisfying with taking the time for great closure that a lot of other novels don’t do. I felt like the characters I’ve grown to love will be okay in a not so okay world. There was an instance in the climatic scene where I felt the villain shift too quickly but I forgive the author because it all still worked out really well. Highly recommend overall.