Reminiscent of Practical Magic, this sensory-rich debut and series opener highlights the mysteries of life, death, and love for modern twin witches.
Produced from their Eastern European mother and a Japanese father they’ve never met, mixed-race fraternal twins Iris and Malina know they are also witches born with “the gleam,” a magical way to bring forth and manipulate beauty. Raised in the medieval town of Cattaro in the Balkan country of Montenegro and isolated from other witches, abrasive Iris has had less and less practice with summoning the beauty of fractals, particularly through flowers, and tender Malina, with eliciting emotions through her beautiful voice. Narrator Iris has resigned herself to making flowers only through glassworks and helping her gruff mother, Jasmina, in her confectionery until there are strange occurrences and visitors in town. When Jasmina is the victim of a possible murder attempt and left in a state between life and death, it’s up to Iris and Malina to find the culprit. The real mystery, however, becomes discovering their complex coven background and connection to generations of strong women with varying gifts of gleam and breaking a deathly family curse. This deliberate narrative is not for fans of the quick, adventurous whodunit but for readers who enjoy detailed descriptions, particularly ones that evoke sights, sounds, and smells.
Those looking for fantasy with diversity may find themselves bewitched. (Fantasy. 14-adult)