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Review: Witches of Ash & Ruin by E. Latimer

Hey all, Dani here.

I think I’ve been working too hard this week. The reason I think this is because I’ve been losing feeling in my hands again. I had a huge carpal tunnel syndrome flare up because of work back in December, but because of a temporary change in position, I was able to let everything rest. Now I’m back to a more general position and because of so many people taking the unpaid leave and staying at home, we’re all having to work even harder to keep things running.

But it’s time to get my weekend started and I have big plans to relax and read. Before I do that though, it’s time to jump into today’s review.


Book Details

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 284

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 1368052258 (ISBN13: 9781368052252)


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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I wanted more magic and Celtic lore and mythology in this book. That’s it; that’s my only big complaint about it.

This was still an engrossing story, and I was definitely drawn into it, and was anxious for more any time I had to put it down to work and all that. But I would have liked deeper and broader lore and myth exploration in this.

I will also admit that this book was not at all what I expected. There was a lot more of a thriller/mystery vibe to the story than what I first thought of a dark magic contemporary witchcraft story. And yet…I did not want to set the book aside. Sometimes it is immensely rewarding to pick up something that is a little bit outside your usual reading comfort zone.

While this did have a nice plot to it, I think it was really the character relationships that were the most interesting to me. There was a wonderfully complex weave to the character relations and interactions. It was fantastic. And I really enjoyed that we got to read from multiple POVs as well. It added to the richness of the story to get the different opinions and perspectives and revelations.

I definitely think this book did a good job of handling the religious conflict as well, because not all religions and not all people who follow those religions are going to be accepting or welcoming to things that go against their beliefs. We have main characters who are bisexual and lesbians, and our protagonist is the daughter of the town preacher, though she herself is a witch. There are so many layers in this story and they were handled seriously and in a compelling way. Though I definitely thought most of the people in this book were in that crazed mentality of their way being the only good true and right way and everyone else is doomed and needs to be punished. It was intense.

Still, I read this book so quickly, and I’m glad that I did.

Where to Get a Copy

You can grab your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore through IndieBound.

You can also check with your local library.

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