Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Wicked and Beautiful Garden (Witches of the Island #1) by Katie McGarry ~ Review

Source: eARC provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Twenty-eight year-old Cassie Strega can’t escape fate.

All she wants is to live a normal, quiet life delivering the babies in her small town. But when she discovers she comes from a lineage of witches, her life becomes extraordinary—in the gravely dangerous type of way.

Then, she’s reunited with her first love.

Orion, the sultry Fae warrior who broke her heart years before, is searching for a baby. Not just any baby, but the queen of the Fae who will one day lead them in their final battle against the demons determined to rule the world. The same baby who has been calling to Cassie for help in her dreams.

Fighting the intense attraction of their former blood bond, Cassie and Orion work together to find the child. But when the heartbreak that nearly destroyed Cassie nine years before looms once more, she’ll have to decide whether getting involved in the supernatural war is worth losing everything, including her life.

I've been a fan of Katie McGarry since her first book, but all of her books I've read have been contemporary. So I was very intrigued to see how she handled a new genre. Especially since this step into a new genre had such a interesting premise--with witches and fae and a romance with a warrior??? Count me in. And I'm glad I picked it up because A Wicked and Beautiful Garden is a very good introduction to this new series.

I'm going to do this review in list form because that's the way my brain is working right now...

Things I Liked:

- First and foremost I will say that Katie McGarry is great with words. It wasn't hard to get interested in this book, and it wasn't tough to stay interested either. 

- I loved the characters. Cassie was awesome. She's kind and selfless and smart and sassy. And Orion took time to grow on me, but he seems like a good guy. And I very much enjoyed the side characters as well.

- The take on witches and fae was so unique. Especially the way they were intertwined for this world...I'm excited for more as the series progresses.

- Flashback scenes can be hit or miss for me, but I rather liked the ones in this story. It really helped piece things together as the plot progressed. Especially things between Cassie and Orion.

- Speaking of Cassie and Orion...I'm kind of on the fence about them. Do I like them together? Yes. Do I feel like they have had adequate time to really form a strong relationship? Not so much. So they're going in both what I liked and what I didn't like. Here I'll talk about what I liked: they are very devoted to one another. And they make a good match. I'll be very interested to see where their romance goes...

Now...Things I Did Not Like:

- Cassie and Orion and their romance. Second chance romances are always a hard sell for me, and this one has me torn. I like the characters individually. And I don't hate them together. But I feel like we didn't see enough of their relationship building and growing. Instead, they just resurface feelings they apparently had before rather quickly. I'm looking forward to more of them in the next book, where hopefully their relationship feels more organic.

- While the plot was good, it sometimes read as a little disjointed. This was rather minor, but it was on my mind as I read.

- Like the plot, some of the worldbuilding and the magic system was kind of odd. I have high hopes that it will all make more sense as the series arc continues to play out, however. But things seemed to be introduced out of nowhere--like the connection with Orion, for example. I wish we could have gotten more info on exactly how that works. Mostly that's what I'm saying here--I want to know more about how things WORK.

Overall, A Wicked and Beautiful Garden was a solid and interesting introduction to the Witches of the Island series. There were a few aspects I found a little rocky, but it's a unique take on witches and fae. I'd say it was definitely worth the read, and I am very much looking forward to picking up book 2!

3.5 stars - A solid & interesting introduction to a new series!

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