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Warning: spoiler alert!
To be honest, I’m a little disappointed with this one, mainly for its barrage of relentless YA clichés, thinly masked as plot (a plot which seems thin in itself.) For example:
1. Forbidden love between handsome boy and pretty girl
2. Supernatural elements (handsome boy is a witch finder, pretty girl is a witch, hence forbidden love- although she doesn’t actually seem to do much magic, apart from shout a few unpronounceable words at her hideous brother)
3. An evil love interest named Sebastian for pretty girl (Rule no. 1 of YA fiction clichés: Evil characters are always called Sebastian or Damien- good characters always called some variant of Lucian or Lucas- case in point: the handsome boy here is named Luke.)
4. Hideous brother to torment pretty girl (as mentioned before)
5. Pretty girl in peril, who can only be saved by handsome boy
6. Angsty ‘who to choose’ dilemma between Evil Boy (Sebastian) and handsome boy- of course, the reader knows immediately that the pretty girl will eventually choose handsome boy (the handsomeness gene wins out,) but only after finding out that Evil Boy is truly evil- and in this one, it does take her quite a long while, even after he whips a puppy to death in front of her, she still mulling over who he truly is. Here’s a clue: um, he just killed a PUPPY??
All in all, there were some good parts (a grimoire disguised as a bible for instance,) but overall I found it a little dull and predictable. I also found the idea of a witch-finder boy setting out to deliberately kill a witch girl (by smashing in her skull with a hammer, or suffocating her with some kind of magic/poisonous vapour) a little misogynistic, to say the least- particularly as there were no women witch-finders.
Overall rating: 5 out of 10.