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NetGalley Review: The Witch and the Vampire by Francesca Flores

Hey all, Sam here.

It’s Sunday, my mom will be in town in just a few days, and I got a notification from WordPress that this blog has received over 50,000 views in its lifetime…which is pretty cool. Anyway, my hope is to get enough reading accomplished over the next couple of days that I can get all of the blog posts written for the weekend. That way I won’t have to ignore my mom to get stuff done.

We’re going to go bowling, play putt-putt golf, eat some good food, and just hang out. I’m really excited about it. But I need to try and get things planned and be organized enough to get things done. I might even try to get ahead on my Camp NaNoWriMo writing, so I don’t necessarily need to write while my mom is here. Of course, I do tend to be awake later than her, so I could still find time to do work if I needed to.

Anyway, I’m back with another review. Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for granting me access to a digital ARC. I haven’t said it in a while, but being granted a copy to read does not affect my rating or review in any way. I just see books that sound interesting on NetGalley and put out a review request. Even if they tell me no, the chances are pretty high that I’ll end up reading and reviewing the book anyway.

Let’s get started.

Francesca Flores’s The Witch and the Vampire is a queer Rapunzel retelling where a witch and a vampire who trust no one but themselves must journey together through a cursed forest with danger at every turn.

Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. Until one night two years ago, vampires broke through the magical barrier protecting their town, and in the ensuing attack, Kaye’s mother was killed, and Ava was turned into a vampire. Since then, Ava has been trapped in her house. Her mother Eugenia needs her: Ava still has her witch powers, and Eugenia must take them in order to hide that she’s a vampire as well. Desperate to escape her confinement and stop her mother’s plans to destroy the town, Ava must break out, flee to the forest, and seek help from the vampires who live there. When there is another attack, she sees her opportunity and escapes.

Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty of killing any vampires that threaten the town, including Ava. On the night that Ava escapes, Kaye follows her and convinces her to travel together into the forest, while secretly planning to turn her in. Ava agrees, hoping to rekindle their old friendship, and the romantic feelings she’d started to have for Kaye before that terrible night.

But with monstrous trees that devour humans whole, vampires who attack from above, and Ava’s stepfather tracking her, the woods are full of danger. As they travel deeper into the forest, Kaye questions everything she thought she knew. The two are each other’s greatest threat—and also their only hope, if they want to make it through the forest unscathed.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

There was so much tension between these characters. From the very beginning, it was like I could feel the connection, the history, the friendship (and possibly more) that had existed between Ava and Kaye prior to the book starting. And honestly, that feels rare to me…to have a book where you can legitimately feel the past that connects two characters, or a small group of characters. Sure, there’s often a sense that characters know each other and have spent time together, but the history between Ava and Kaye is palpable.

Unfortunately for these girls, their past bonds and past knowledge of each other also make the separation they’ve had the past two years this treacherous chasm they have to find a way to cross so they can even begin to reconnect and trust each other again.

It is Ava and Kaye that really drive this story forward. Sure there’s Ava’s stepfather looking for her, and the mystery with what’s going on in the forest, and trying to trek through the forest with both vampires and witches hunting for each other…but it is the main duo’s journey that truly grabs the interest and makes the pages keep turning again and again.

I do feel like I wanted a bit more when it came to understanding the world, but that could just be a me thing. I’ve come to really love and appreciate world-building, and I would have liked to have been a little more rooted in the world for the story.

I do like the twists and liberties taken to the Rapunzel story, but there is so much more to this story than just some queer fantasy retelling of a classic tale.

I’d definitely say this is more character driven than anything, but it was compelling, and I read it in just a couple reading sessions, which is always nice when I’m hoping to read a lot. I love that I’m starting to read more again. It’s nice, very nice.

Oh, this book came out a couple weeks ago, so you can pick up your own copy wherever books are sold now.

Well, that is all from me for today. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back soon with more geeky content.


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