Middle Grade Fantasy by Dalea Faulkner

1/3 stars

Content rating: PG for mildly scary elements

Blurb:

Following the tragic death of her father, Brigid Baelfyre moves to Amberlight Valley with her mother. Struggling to fit into her new home, Brigid is assigned to a school project with the middle school bully, Morgan Asarligt, who may not be as bad as she seems.

But strange things are happening, and the girls learn not only are the legends surrounding the valley true, but their own newfound magical powers have made them a target for the dark Stygian Myst. Suddenly, it’s up to two inexperienced witches to save the valley from crumbling into chaos.

Spoiler-free review:

This is my first book review since revamping my website and I wanted to begin with a strong 3/3 rating. Alas, it didn’t happen.

Let’s start with the good. I have the special edition copy from Once Upon a Book Club and it. is. gorgeous! I will absolutely be keeping it for aesthetic reasons. The plot was fun with its small-town, kinda-Gilmore-Girl charm, and the good old, “hey, you have magic powers” trope. The whole thing gave off strong Good Witch vibes.

Sadly, the writing was…well, I won’t sugarcoat it. It was bad. There are moments of brilliance, but it was like an early draft. There were spelling and grammar mistakes, tenses slipping, the point of view was probably meant to be omniscient, but in reality was a lot of confusing head-hopping. I’d sympathize with an amateur, but this is supposed to have gone through an editor.

I wanted to love the characters. In a way, I did, but the mountainous levels of telling always kept them at arm’s length. I know Brigid was a sweet but fiery redhead. I know Morgan was a Wednesday Addams type of character. But I never really felt it.

Bottom line:

If they made even a halfway decent movie out of this, I would totally watch it, but I doubt I’ll read the sequel.