In the vein of John Tucker Must Die, Emmy Harlow is finally heading home to Thistle Grove. She’s adamant that she’s not staying and only back as the Harlow heir to arbitrate the generational spellcasting tournament. But when she runs into the Avramov heir, Talia Avramov, on her first night back, Emmy can’t stop thinking about the terrifyingly gorgeous witch. Talia is fresh off a break-up with the Blackmoore heir and Emmy’s ex-boyfriend Gareth Blackmore. The breakup, brought on by Talia’s discovery of Gareth also dating Emmy’s best friend, Linden Thron, has the three witches bent on revenge. With Talia and Rowan, Linden’s twin, both competing against Gareth Blackmoore in the tournament, what better way to extract revenge than by beating him!
This is such a cute book! I’ll say it’s less Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAS) and more Sabrina the Teenage Witch (kinda). This isn’t a dark magical romance, and is more a light-hearted romance with three witches united to humiliate the man who wronged them. Very much John Tucker Must Die, a movie I loved as a teenager.
The idyllic magic town of Thistle Grove felt so cozy, and I loved that the magical system was all tied to the town itself and the founding magical families. The way the families are divided: the Thron’s gravitate toward ‘green’ magic and are great at horticulture; The Avramov’s tend to have darker magical and stray into necromancer magic. The Blackmoore’s have illusions on lock; and the Harlow’s…well they are the town scribes. I loved how distinct each families magic was, and also how well crafted the characters themselves were.
Emmy, was a decent lead. I thought her emotional issues lasted a bit longer than need be for such a short book, but it didn’t necessarily detract from the overall story. Past Emmy, Talia and Linden were amazing characters. I would have loved to get inside Talia’s head and also would love for Linden to be the leading lady in the next installment of the series.
The tournament was interesting and had Triwizard vibes, but I would have like it to be more…extravagant? Impactful? Dramatic? Honestly, the tournament plot line ended up falling a bit short for me. That plus wishing we would have gotten inside Talia’s head, are what brought my rating down.
If you’re looking for a fun, witchy romance, that has strong magical world building, then this is perfect for you. Can’t wait to jump into the second book.
Payback’s a Witch is out now. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.