In Victorian England a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder by the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Vine Witch.
After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.
To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?
This is a Kindle Unlimited book and it comes with the audio version when you get it through Kindle Unlimited.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
The Raven Spell by Luanne G. Smith is the story of two witch sisters and a private witch detective set in Victorian London. The trio becomes involved in a serial killer case that could cost them their lives.
Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):
I read and enjoyed The Vine Witch series, so I wonder if this new series will be part of that same world. I also loved that series, and I hope to love this one as well.
Actual Reading Experience:
I loved that the plot starts off immediately full of suspense and tension. A crime thriller involving the paranormal community is a mix of genres I enjoy. This one is complete with a Witch Constabulary investigating crimes committed against and by supernatural creatures. The blend of genres works exceptionally in creating a magical and thrilling world.
Smith’s writing style is beautiful and descriptive. There is also something in it that, at times, can be meandering though at other times is filled with suspense and tension. I don’t mind the mix, as it does not affect the story’s pace. I bask in the meandering, enjoying the beauty of the world Smith has created. I see it as the calm before the storm that I know is coming, and boy does it!
Some of the magical abilities of the sisters are unique even to the witches in the paranormal community they are members of. Those abilities stretch back to Melin/Morgaine, and today’s witches fear the sisters because they have them. That’s a unique and exciting twist I can see having a significant impact as the series unfolds.
Edwina Blackridge is a witch, but her powers are a bit unique. When she and her sister find a man on the shores of the river, which they presumed dead until they noticed that he was barely hanging on to life, this starts a thrilling hunt for a serial killer.
Edwina is tough and independent but also a caretaker by nature. She protects her sister and their magical secret with everything that she has. I loved her fearlessness and bravery when facing evil humans; the command of her abilities is exquisite.
Narration & Pacing:
The third-person narration focuses on Edwina Blackwood, which keeps the story focused on the central plot. This, in turn, keeps the pace very fast. Between the focused action, the thrills, and the jaw-dropping twists, the story moved so quickly that the pages became a blur.
The Raven Spell is set in Victorian London. I love that period, so I am more than happy to be immersed in it, and the story works perfectly in that setting. The misogynistic mindset prevalent during that time dramatically impacts Edwina and provides more tension for this thriller.
What It Reminds Me Of:
The writing is reminiscent of The Vine Witch trilogy, the author’s first series. Still, the story itself is new and blends a bit of Merlin/the Morgaine magic with more typical spell magic.
Read it if you like:
- Thrills and jaw-dropping twists
- Fast pace
- Complex magic system
- Serial killer thrillers
- Historical setting – Victorian England
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
|‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness||8|
|Use of Setting||10|