Title: The Price Guide to the Occult
Author: Leslye Walton
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young adult/teen, Fantasy – urban/supernatural
Book format: Paperback
Description: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live is an unremarkable teenage life. But as a descendant of the witch Rona Blackburn, who famously cursed her family over a century ago, Nor is no stranger to suffering. She has reason to hope, however, that she may have escaped he thornier side effects of Rona’s curse.
Then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. The author – Nor’s own mother – is performing magic that should be far beyond her capabilities. and such magic always requires sacrifice.
A storm is coming. It’s coming for Nor.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review.
Review: I’m not sure why this book has had so many negative reviews on Amazon, I really did enjoy reading it. ‘The Price Guide to the Occult’ is a brilliantly dark novel. The paperback has a beautiful cover with some shiny red marks. Rona Blackburn was a very powerful witch who cursed her family line about a hundred years ago. Every daughter born to the Blackburn family since then is burdened with a power that Rona had. Nor, youngest and eighth descendant, who lives on the Island of Anathema, has lived a relatively simple life. But things are stirring in the waters that surround the Island, and Nor can feel it.
I don’t want to reveal more of the plot, it’s very complex and a lot happens within each chapter. The story is a good one and I like the way you can sense the atmosphere right away. The tale is easy to get into and I enjoyed learning about Nor and her family history. I’m not sure why so many people think the middle gets boring, I found the whole pace very even and enjoyed the overall tale with its ending too. There’s something about the way the author, Walton, manages to make you not only see the story in your mind but also to smell, hear and taste it too. All your senses are evoked when reading this, it didn’t feel flat and uninteresting, it was a good story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Despite my praise there are some negatives. Although I did get engrossed in the story, desperately wanting to read on to see what happens next, I did find a few issues with the various details of the tale. Things such as the trinket that Nor carries that was gifted to her and why exactly she has the powers she has, are never fully explained. I either got lost on the significance of that trinket or it was never really used again in the story, likewise the reason for Fern being the way she was also never made the story which was a shame as it would have been good to have more on that. It’s little details like this and a few others which felt disappointing compared to other books where everything feels complete.
The ending and epilogue was good, I like the epilogue’s end especially, it leaves you wondering what would happen next. It is a satisfying ending to the main story and it does wrap up the novel nicely although I’d like to know more on what happened with the other characters at the end. The story does cover issues of self-harm which were done in a good way. It’s very detailed and goes into the mind of someone self-harming but the book does deal with the issue sensibly and ends with a good positive message on the subject. The book does have some dark descriptions of violence, there is blood and quite disturbing details on some deaths it’s definitely not a novel I would recommend for young teens. There is also some use of the f and s swear words although it isn’t too frequent.
Overall this was a good story, there were a few issues, but I did enjoy the tale on the whole and I love the way Walton is able to describe and bring the story to life so vividly. It’s definitely a tale I would personally recommend to anyone interested in some urban fantasy, I also can’t help but love the cover, especially the beautiful animals drawn.
Do you like this book? What about other books with supernatural stories? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂