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Thursday 2 May 2019

Review: The Price Guide To The Occult

Just off the coast from Washington in the Salish Sea sits Anathema island, its history steeped in folklore and myths. 

Home to a thriving township that bustles with tourists visiting boutique businesses, but lurking beneath the air of normalcy, the island hides forbidden secrets.
Having grown up on the island, Nor Blackburn wants to be a typical teenager – boring, invisible and with no ambition to be anything else. 

Living with her grandmother Judd, a giantress and her partner Apothia, they have raised Nor in her mother’s absence since she was ten years old.

Nor spends her days working at a local store, The Witching Hour, sprints around the lake and spends time with her best friend Savvy. All perfectly normal, except for one small thing, Nor is far from your average teenager. In fact, Nor comes from a long line of witches, cursed witches that cannot find love.

Born on Halloween, Nor Blackburn is the eighth Blackburn daughter – descended from Rona Blackburn who along with eight forefathers settled the island. After a disagreement, Rona promised retribution upon the eight men and their families including her own.

Each of the Blackburn daughters receives their gift or burden at particular stages of their lives, Nor hoping to be unremarkable receives the burden of talking to plants and animals and hearing their thoughts. Fearing her abilities, Nor hasn’t confessed to her grandmother the full extent of her powers in case her mother discovers them – detecting lies (the air turns purple), freezing time, forecasting weather and healing people. 

No one speaks about Nor’s mother, Fern, who abandoned her to become a powerful witch, especially since Nor nearly died as a result of one of Fern’s spells spiralling out of control. Fearing the return of her mother, Nor battles anxiety and the need to self-harm as coping mechanisms.

However, one day as Nor unpacks books at The Witching Hour, she discovers a book her mother has written The Price Guide To The Occult with one of the first spells she finds in the book is that of her ancestor Rona. Nor’s mother does not have that burden to be able to cast the spell, unless she is dabbling in black magic which requires a blood sacrifice. 

As dark forces envelope the island and all who live there, people go missing, lives are ruined, Fern raises an army of worshippers to do her bidding.

Her goal is to destroy her family once and for all. But when Fern comes face to face with Nor, there is the ultimate battle of Good vs Evil.
Nor will find friends and support she never knew she had, but will it be enough to defeat her own mother? And at what cost?

Title: The Price Guide To The Occult
Author: Leslye Walton
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 1 March 2019
Format: Paperback
For ages: 15+
Type: Young Adult Fiction