by Avery Flynn
Publication Date: December 6, 2022
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
An unlucky witch and her know-it-all nemesis must team up in the first of a new, hot romantic comedy series from USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn.
Could it possibly get any worse than having absolutely no magical abilities when you’re a member of the most powerful family of witches ever? It used to be that I’d say no, but then I keep getting set up on dates with Gil Connolly whose hotness is only matched by his ego. Seriously. I can’t stand him. Even if I also can’t stop thinking about him (specifically kissing him) but we’re going to pretend I never told you that part.
So yeah, my life isn’t the greatest right now, but then it goes straight to the absolute worst hell when I accidentally make my sister’s spell glitch and curse my whole family. And the only person who can help non-magical me break the spell? You guessed it. Gil the super hot jerk.
Now we have to work together to save my family and outmaneuver some evil-minded nefarious forces bent on world domination. Oh yeah, and we have to do all that while fighting against the attraction building between us because I may not be magical, but what’s happening between Gil and I sure feels like it.
I’m loving the bumper crop of witchy paranormal romcoms lately! This version even features an enemies-to-lovers trope! It’s light and humorous with a very distinctive writing style that will definitely not resonate with all readers.
While the Sherwood family may be some of the most famous witches in Witchingdom, Tilda is, well, not. As an outré – a person without magic – she’s been relegated to handling the social media presence of her mom and sisters. All of which would be a lot easier if she stopped running into – and getting set up on blind dates with – her jerk of an enemy, Gil. The thing is, Gil is deliberately trying to spend more time with Tilda. As an unwilling agent of the Council, who want to return Witchingdom back to the dark ages, Gil’s been assigned to find a way to dethrone the Sherwoods and powerless Tilda seems like his best bet. But he’s also a double-agent for the Resistance, the forces working against the Council. When an unfortunate encounter with Tilda and a plant lead him to realize that all is not what it seems, he’s left with a choice: help out the woman he’s intrigued with or free himself and his family from the Council’s clutches.
“Yes. I’m on the same magical level as a rooster.
That should explain a lot about the state of my self-esteem.”
Tilda knows that in the whole scheme of things, she’s not important besides being a constant source of gossip for anyone who wants to laugh at the magicless member of a powerful magical family. She has a good life with a loving family and friends with similar magical issues but she’s tired of feeling unequal and lesser. But through it all, she’s rather optimistic.
After growing up in basically a magical wasteland and then blackmailed into working for the bad guys, it’s no wonder Gil’s a cynic. Tilda describes him as obnoxious and a smarmy know-it-all jerk, and well, yeah, I’d have to agree with her at times. He also spends a good chunk of the book withholding important information from Tilda which didn’t endear him to me.
“Tilda Sherwood is a spellbinder from the most powerful family in all of Witchingdom. I’m a shifty double agent from The Beyond and I’ve been lying to her since the day we met.”
Tilda and Gil basically go from being acquaintances to deeply in love with whiplash speed, partially thanks to the unwitting use of Gil’s desire magic, the thing that got his family exiled. They’re both fighting their attraction but they rather quickly realize that the other person isn’t quite as awful as they expected: Tilda isn’t solely dippy airhead and Gil’s prickling exterior hides a soft heart. The book gets very, very steamy (though there are some improbable sex positions; please see this review for a description that made me snort tea up my nose). While I bought their chemistry, I would’ve liked to see a bit more romance between them to truly buy their HEA.
Which leads me to my two main problems with this book. The first is the author’s voice. The viewpoint alternates between Tilda and Gil and the way Tilda is written especially reads as very young and very, well, trying too hard to be EXTRA. There’s frequent fourth-wall breaking and lots of random barely related asides. It was initially off-putting but after a few chapters I found it somewhat charming. If you can read the words “Witchingdom” or “WitchyGram” without cringing, you’ll probably be ok. And honestly, I think the book would’ve worked better without Gil’s viewpoint. There’s some tension in Gil knowing something important about Tilda that she doesn’t, but it felt like too much on top of everything else.
Which brings me to my second problem: the plot. There’s just too much going on. There’s the double-agent business, way too many capitalized groups (Council, Resistance, Committee, Misfits, The Beyond, etc), a heist, and a slew of somewhat unnecessary side characters that never felt truly fleshed out. Oh, and the whole romance on top of that. The book starts off as silly but passable romcom before suddenly changing into a heist novel. While I love heist novels, the abrupt shift in tone practically gave me whiplash.
Overall, I thought this was a charming if highly flawed book. It was a quick, light read with cheesy humor that made me smile, so I’d give it 3.5 stars.