Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Happy Book Birthday, Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers with Giveaway!


Mark of the Wicked
by Georgia Bowers
Swoon Reads
YA Fantasy


A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.

Magic always leaves its mark.

All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.

When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.

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With dark tones in every corner, this is a tale which lures in and keeps the tension high.

Matilda is a witch, and although she's only a junior in high school, she already wears the scars of the names of the many people she's injured with her magic. Unlike many witches, though, her family has a spell to hide the names etched in their skin. Just when she adds another name to her collection, she meets a boy, who not only dabbles in witchcraft himself, but also wants to be her friend. But dead animals are showing up everywhere, and her home situation is more than rocky. Add her upcoming birthday, which marks her adulthood as a witch...and romance seems to be more than just a simple impossibility.

This is a well-woven tale with more than a few dark secrets and mysteries. Matilda is already an edgy character, whose attitude toward magic and others makes her hard to like. She uses magic for her benefit, regardless of the consequences...and yet, the author still manages to make her somewhat sympathetic. Matilda knows she's on a bad path but struggles with several personal issues. While she does some terrible things, it's hard not to feel pity and hope she finds the light at the end of the tunnel.

The character arc in this one is clear and well done. Matilda has a lot to learn and a rough journey ahead of her. The characters around her are also well laid out and have as many secrets and gray areas as the plot itself. There are some huge twists in this one...some which I did see coming but still enjoyed. And there are enough side tales to add a little depth. I did have a hard time, sometimes, picturing Matilda and her friends as upper classmen in high school, though, since they often came across more as older middle graders in their actions, speech and thoughts. But the story and the plot are definitely solid YA themes.

It's an easy read with lots of surprises, magic and the darkness of a gothic read. I had no trouble reading this in one sitting and did enjoy it for the most part.

And here she is...

Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.

Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.

After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.

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Giselle said...

This sounds like a really unique and well written read! Great review! :)

Mary Preston said...

I love witches in stories.