Holly has been mortal all her life. Now at thirty-eight, her fairy godfather arrives to tell her she’s a witch, and suddenly she’s having to come to terms with the uncertainties of an alarmingly magic-fuelled world. Magic is not like it is in the books and films, and Holly starts to doubt whether her fairy godfather, Partridge Mayflower, is the fey, avuncular charmer he appears.
When appearances are magically deceptive, Holly cannot afford to trust those closest to her, including herself. Accidents start to happen, people die, Old Magic is on the hunt, but in the age-old game of cat and mouse, just who is the feline and who is the rodent?
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the publisher for review.
I quite liked this story, it was different yet familiar, and had characters who were quirky and likeable, as well as a story that was filled with magic and a touch of danger, suspense, and mystery.
Holly is a good main character, she is likeable and tells her story well, and Watts makes her stand out without having her take over the story. Holly is strong minded and determined, and though she accepts her new life, she is still learning, and seeing her gradual improvements and various lessons and tests is a nice introduction to the magical world for the reader as well.
Having an older protagonist allows a different set of events to occur and Watts does well not to make it a key factor or a hindrance. She isn’t so much a Chosen One, as much as a breed of a special few which was a clever decision. Being different, even in the magical world, also makes Holly stand out, but this helps boost the story and makes the progression smoother and faster, allowing a greater focus on the story itself.
Watts balances Holly’s introduction to the magical world creatively and believably and snippets of information and character development helps aid this revelation and makes the narrative maintain its flow. The narrative isn’t too detailed, but it is deep enough to be complex and interesting, as well as provide all the necessary information. Watts provides us with enough information to understand the story without offering extensive and additional detail on characters or details about the magical world. This can mean a few characters are a tad flat, but enough can be picked up on their personality with brief appearances and their interaction with Holly. The magical element itself is explained clearly and woven into the story nicely, making it seem natural, but again there could have been room for a deeper explanation.
Even with brief detail, Watts has great descriptions that make scenes vivid and come to life. With only a few words the action on the page is easily visualised and it is easy to immerse yourself in the world that has been created. I think this world could be expanded into something bigger, deeper, and more explained, but the level in which Watts has explained is satisfactory and brings the focus to Holly’s narrative rather than the entire magical world.
The narrative maintains a solid pace from start to finish, with the ending wrapped up aptly, nothing rushed and with suspense, magical fanfare, and contentment. There are secrets to uncover and puzzle pieces to put together and Watts mixes these together wonderfully with a great narrative, intriguing concept, and a touch of magic. Clue and hints and placed without being obvious and as it all comes together in an enchanting conclusion it is clear just how clever Watts has been, not just in idea but in execution.
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