I was very happy to receive an e-ARC of Spells Trouble by P.C and Kristin Cast from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books) in exchange for an honest review. The book is available today, May 25, 2021, and is the first book in the new “Sisters of Salem” series.
Title: Spells Trouble
Authors: P.C Cast and Kristin Cast
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Length: 320 Pages
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Goodreads Rating: 3.19
Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.
When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.
Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good.
I love stories about witches, and studied the witch trials during my undergrad, so I was very excited to read this book. The historical prologue was immediately engaging – and part of me wished we could stay with those characters. Instead, we meet twins Hunter and Mercy Goode, and I enjoyed reading about their story too.
The twins have opposite personalities – I definitely identified more with Hunter – but I also enjoyed Mercy. I think it was neat that they were close and yet so different from each other.
We also meet the sisters at a time of transition in their lives – they are coming to terms with their family legacy of being gatekeepers to the underworlds and also have to deal with the tragic death of their mother. The story is quite fast-paced and alternates between light and dark subject matter. I really liked the magic system and mythology connections.
I thought the concept of the five gates to different underworlds – Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Japanese and Hindu – was really interesting, and that idea was one of my favourite parts of the book.
I think the premise of the book was really strong – one criticism would be that sometimes it felt like the writing style didn’t quite match with the story’s potential. There were a few times that the writing and pacing seemed off. Overall, though it was still enjoyable. I think particularly for a younger, female audience.
I gave this book 3 out 5 stars. It didn’t completely blow me away, but I think the story has potential and there were elements of the book that I really liked. I will definitely check out the second book when it comes out. Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books) for the advanced copy.