Bad Witch Burning - Review
*I received this E-Arc from Delacorte for the TBR and Beyond Tours. All reviews are my own.*
Wheeeeew this book! I happened to pick this up out of mild interest, but low and behold; the quality shocked the hell out of me! Bad Witch Burning is the official debut of new author Jessica Lewis. With a literal play on the term "black girl magic," we see a young black witch trying to make it in the world. But with her new power, not only does she make it, but she also almost destroys it.
"Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?
However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.
But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late."
I'm not sure how to write this review without discussing the book. It's that good. It's indescribable! So I'll try to keep it short.
What I liked about this book is that it's modern. The fantasy aspect is that the main character, Katrell, is a medium that can talk to ghosts for a short amount of time. Other than that, she is a regular black teenager trying to stay above the poverty line. She doesn't escape into a magical realm, she doesn't inherit magical powers like Harry Potter, and there are no fairies or warlocks. There's the run-down side of town she lives on, her ain't shit neglectful mother and the boyfriend that beats her to establish dominance. She deals with life the best way she could.
Her hustle was writing letters that can summon ghosts to the human world, but all that changes when she accidentally raises the dead. Everybody knows that you don't bring the dead back to life! It screams zombie apocalypse! But what would you do if you were about to be evicted? Or had no food in the house? Katrell charging people to bring back their loved ones is immoral, but a survival skill … well, until she gets in way over her head. Denial is a river in Egypt, and girlie was swimming all up in it!
As much as I liked this book, it also drudged up a dark side of thinking for me. Sadly I've seen a situation somewhat similar to Katrell's, and my stance on that has never changed: I do not respect the parents who choose their spouse over their own flesh and blood. Lewis portrayed this aspect of the book as horrifically beautiful. While I wish no child would ever go through what Katrell went through, I can say this shaped the character to be who she is from beginning to end.
Overall I gave this book a 5-star rating. It's been a while since I did that! It's a quick read that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Lewis did a fantastic job shaping this story, and I hope to see more from her in the future.
Bad Witch Burning debuts August 24, 2021.