A teen witch explores the extent of her coven’s secrets in this YA debut.
Seventeen-year-old Fiona Mandrake lives with her aunt in Arcadia, Pennsylvania. She and Aunt Kate are witches of the Luna Crescent Coven and also run the Enchanted Books & Beans cafe. Fiona’s life involves the typical teenage complications, like her rival, Scarlett Thorne, and her gorgeous though platonic best friend, Declan Delaney. But when Fiona turns 18, she’s expected to become the next Coven Leader. Kate took the post temporarily when her sister and brother-in-law perished in a car accident. Recently, however, Fiona’s been having intense dreams and visions about a young boy who once saved her life. When that boy, now a grown young man named Sloane Blackwell, shows up in the cafe, Fiona is stunned. She’d thought the entire Blackwell family died tragically. Kate warns her niece that the teen could be a Hexenjager, a creature from the realm of Tartara capable of disguising itself, with the intent to siphon her magical powers and fuel its own immortality. Fiona must tread carefully because Arcadia is a “Gateway City to the otherworlds,” and as her memories of childhood slowly return, she learns about an invasion of dark Fey called the Glamour War and her mother’s pivotal involvement. In her novel, Quinn meticulously constructs a Buffy the Vampire Slayer–style chosen one narrative, layering in a hefty portion of magical spells, enchanted artifacts, and high school drama. Arcadia, with a population below 500, is a quaint but upscale town. Quinn’s unabashedly flowery prose ensconces her fantasy—which often reads like a mystery—in romance; for example, “My eyes fluttered open to a soft breeze that blew open the curtains, revealing rose-pink and amethyst hues as dawn broke over the mountains.” Longtime fantasy readers may grow frustrated with how heavily the plot relies on Fiona’s visions to creep forward. But in the book’s final third, rivalries, secret longings, and near-fatal displays of dark magic all erupt spectacularly. Quinn delivers both a satisfying ending and raised stakes for a sequel.
A warm tale that establishes a complex new fantasy universe.