When I saw the cover reveal for Witches Steeped in Gold, I was very drawn. I mean, its natural for a reader to be attracted to a book by its cover, right? Surely, it was on my anticipated releases this year and I’m so glad I got to read it.
To explain WSIG in simple words, it is an enemies-to-allies story with betrayal, magic, black girl power and a hint of romance. But again, describing the book in these mere words would be utterly wrong, as the story is so much more and goes deep.
However, I’ll admit that I wasn’t drawn into the story right from the beginning. I was – to say truthfully – rather bored. There were two POVs in the book. But the initial transition between the perspectives had me very confused. Their voices sounded similar and their actions, inner monologues almost the same. And hence, I kept mixing the two up, even towards the end.
Iraya and Jazmyne are our two leading ladies in the book. While both of them are different, their desires and goals are almost the same – to overthrow the Doyenne and acquire the magic artifacts. While one of them is a legend royal, the other is a strong Emissary daughter bound for the throne. Both of their paths collide as their goals incline. Yet, betrayal looms at the corner.
As I said, it took me a long – long – time to get used to the two voices. Iraya was conflicted and so was Jazz. Their conflicted emotions fell short of being well portrayed in the story in a distinct manner, which I grappled with. Iraya and Jazz felt like the same person on various counts.
Similar with the plot too – it took time for me to get used to the world. It’s a complicated world with a new system of magic and divided kingdoms. Heavily Jamaican influenced, one can see the rich cultural representation in the story. It seeped through the pages, and one could definitely learn a great deal from it. So, from a cultural standpoint, it was actually great. It might take time, like it did for me, to get used to the terms and their meanings as a whole, but once you do, its fun. However, I did feel like the worldbuilding took time, and it was slow, and not so furnished.
At the same time, I cannot refrain from mentioning the reason why I was actually bored. The first fifty percent of the book dragged a lot – and I mean a lot. I understand it is the first book in a series, but I also like some fast-paced action, and something along the lines of the blurb. The promised alliance between the two leading MCs happens so late in the book that by the time it actually happened, I was on the verge of giving up. Almost sixty percent into the book and the alliance wouldn’t happen and it made me a little annoyed, I wont lie. I wanted to see Iraya and Jaz break into banters, insult each other, scheme and plan. Instead, what happened was that they met, decided, and one chapter later, everything was setting into motion. I mean – it felt too convenient. At least for me.
I did like the end, though. The last few ten chapters get a lot interesting and action packed, and I thoroughly enjoyed those. I think it perfectly builds up for the sequel and I’m intrigued to see where the author takes this story.
Overall, Witches Steeped in Gold was an okay read for me. It was definitely steeped in a whole lot of YA clichés that you can see coming from way ahead, and there were definitely inconsistencies and mixing up in the dual characters’ personalities. I also felt it was dragged a whole lot, especially towards the last few chapters; and some chapters weren’t that necessary. My primary problem was the fact that the story promised in the blurb to come to play took so long. I understand the need for building the world and characters, considering it’s the first book, but at the same time, a lot of those details could have simply been shown as the supposed alliance took place. I needed that enemies-to-allies to work out, I wanted to see more magic. At the end though, I did enjoy the last part of the book, and I think lovers of high fantasy, or fantasy in usual, will enjoy this book!
Thanks to Colored Pages Book Tours for having me on the tour and providing me with an e-arc.
About the book
Title: Witches Steeped in Gold
Author: Ciannon Smart
Publisher: HarperTeen / Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
• • •
Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.
Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance.
Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.
Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.
This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.
About the author
Ciannon Smart grew up in a small town in the south-east of England. As the only daughter in a house full of boisterous sons, she developed a voracious appetite for reading from an early age, preferring anarchy in stories rather than real life. In YA she loves her heroines exactly as she loves her villains: wilful, wily, and unpredictable. When not writing, Ciannon can be found reading, painting, or taking the long way home to listen to a good song more than once.
For grabs: Two finished copies of Witches Steeped in Gold
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Ends: 30th April
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