March 17, 2020

Witches of Ash & Ruin Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Witches of Ash & Ruin
Author: E. Latimer 
Genre: YA LGBTQ/Fantasy
Release Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that's impossible to put down.
Witches of Ash & Ruin is a thrilling new young adult fantasy full of magic, witches, and Celtic mythology. I've had this book on my wishlist for months now, waiting until it finally released so I could get my hands on it. It's one of my most anticipated titles for this year and I will admit that I had really high hopes going into reading it. The description sounded amazing - modern witchcraft intertwined with ancient Celtic mythology and it's a mystery/thriller with murder? It sounded almost too good to be true and I really hoped I wouldn't be disappointed when I finally had the chance to read it. I can now happily say that this surprised me in a lot of ways - great ones. It was actually better than I had hoped and anticipated, which doesn't happen very often. I can honestly say that it's going to be one of my favorite books of the year. Maybe an all-time favorite.

There's so much happening in this story. A small Irish town with a hardcore church and reverend, practicing witches, Celtic mythology, murder, mystery, and diverse characters - some LGBTQ and one that even has mental health issues. That's just a super brief overview of some of the things you'll find throughout this story. I don't do spoilers in my reviews so I can't really talk much more about the plot without giving anything away on accident. I'll just say that I was immediately sucked into this world and I absolutely loved every single second of it. I completely lost myself in the pages of this book and didn't want it to end. It's one of those rare books that you love so much that you will rant on and on about it just to attempt to get someone to understand why it's so amazing and why you love it so much. I'm really trying not to do that now and I apologize if it happens a little bit.

There are multiple main characters in the story - five to be exact. We have quite an assortment between the group and there's definitely at least one character that any reader will connect with. I connected with several of them, which only made me love them and the story all the more. Each of the characters is incredibly complex and realistic. They all have strengths and weaknesses, flaws and faults, and distinct personalities that made them come alive. As I mentioned earlier, there are a couple LGBTQ characters and the story doesn't shy away from that topic. Also, one of the characters has mental health problems - mainly OCD and anxiety - and that topic is talked about too. I love that the author didn't shy away from these aspects of the story and that they're written about in a very realistic way. I personally suffer from several anxiety disorders, which made it super easy for me to connect with Dayna (the character with mental health issues). The way the author describes her panic attacks, her thinking before and during an attack, and just the way that she deals and lives with it really struck me. It was spot on, which is hard to find in books that deal with these issues. I don't know about the LGBTQ aspect personally, but I thought it was written about in the same realistic and personal way. Anyways - the characters were all very realistic and I absolutely loved getting to know each of them throughout the book. The secondary characters were well rounded too and realistic, which I don't find very often - especially with books containing multiple narrators.

Lastly, I have to talk about the writing style. I personally love the first person point of view and believe that almost every book should be written this way. The author wrote this story in the third person POV from five different perspectives. I completely understand why this was done - confusion because of all the main characters, etc. But the thing that really got me was that I didn't mind it at all. Normally a book written in the third person gets a lower rating because of how much I don't like the style. With this book, I was so wrapped up in the story, the various awesome aspects, and the characters - that I didn't even care what style it was done in. I got invested in the characters and the entire story that I lost track of everything. It has to take some really amazing writing to make me forget about things that are usually important to my reading experience. I'm trying not to ramble but I can feel it happening anyway. In conclusion: this book is amazing. Every single thing about it is epic and fantastically done. If any of these genres or topics interest you then you need to read a copy of this book. Now.

E. Latimer is a fantasy writer from Victoria, BC. Her middle grade novel, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray was published by Tundra Books, and was recently nominated for the Red Maple Fiction Award.

In her spare time, she writes books, makes silly vlogs with the Word Nerds about writing, and reads excessively.

Her latest novel, Witches of Ash and Ruin, will be released Spring/Summer 2020 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Win (1) copy of WITCHES OF ASH AND RUIN by E. Latimer (US Only)
Starts: March 16, 2020
Ends: March 30, 2020

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