A coven of modern witches seeks power from ancient Celtic gods.
Dayna Walsh may be a witch, but magic is just one of the ways she’s othered in her small Irish town: She struggles with OCD and was just outed as bisexual—an especially painful revelation given that her father is the reverend of the local church. Dayna has more than enough trouble to deal with even before a group of rival witches shows up. Chemistry sparks between Dayna and the group’s quasi-leader, a girl named Meiner; their romance blooms with charm and realism. The vivacious, twisty plot brims with satisfyingly dark magic supported by a diverse and well-developed cast of characters, including Dayna’s friend Reagan, who is dark-skinned and whose Nigerian mother attends mosque. The Irish setting, however, reads as bizarrely unresearched; on every level, from the linguistic to the cultural, this is a North American small town transplanted in whole to another country. North American references and slang abound, but the descriptions of religious life ring most hollow: Dayna’s father is leader of a formerly Catholic church yet is called “reverend” and, of course, is married and has a child. Modern-day Ireland is still haunted by a dark history of sectarian violence; ignorance of that history feels especially offensive in a story of clashing magical traditions such as this.
An entertaining diversion into queer
witchcraft and dark magic marred by ignorance of its setting. (Fantasy. 14-18)