Title: Spells & Ashes
Author: Kim Richardson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: Five stars
“Are you ready for a new kind of witch?
My name is Samantha Beaumont and I’m a witch.
But I’m not your average dark witch. I specialize in Goetia—the ancient art of conjuring demons—and exorcisms.
That’s right. I hunt and banish demons and other supernatural baddies. But not with a fancy sword or a dagger. No, I banish these suckers with good old-fashioned magic.
All is well until a human girl is murdered and her soul taken by a Greater demon. It gets worse. Human bodies are dropping like flies and it’s up to me to find the Greater demon and kill it. But everyone knows it’s not that simple.
I might have to reveal my secret… if it came to light, I would be dead and all my friends with me.”
* * *
The first thing that struck me about this book is that the world is unlike any other I’ve read. While its magic system has some similarities with The Mortal Instruments series, using runes, it’s a whole other world.
Witches are the offspring of demons and humans, and not as powerful as demons. Yet witches, like Samantha Beaumont, have their own communities and magic to cast. With the use of runes and bewitched rings, Samantha spends her time exorcising demons who have possessed humans. Sometimes, she even summons them if they promise to be helpful.
When Samantha comes up against a Greater Demon, whose exorcism is beyond her powers, she loses the soul of a teenage girl to him. She is determined to avenge the soul of Julia and destroy this demon once and for all. When she crosses paths with Logan, an angel-born, also on the hunt of whoever is leaving a trail of bodies across New York, they realise they are after the same demon.
The story came together seamlessly, with sexual tension building between Sam and Logan, despite witches and angel-borns generally hating each other. Every event just flowed into the next, making it unputdownable!
The characters were varied, interesting and had depths to them that weren’t necessarily explored, just hinted at. While I loved the mystery and how they really came to life as characters because of this, I would love to know more about all the supporting characters. Collin, the psychic 14 year old (who looks about 10), Poe, Samantha’s raven familiar and Kyllian, the angel who refuses to return to Horizon (which I’m guessing is heaven?) because he is suffering from PTSD.
That’s not to mention Samantha’s eccentric grandfather who would wear a bathrobe to the market if he could. Plus, Samantha’s even more eccentric great-aunt Evanora, who talks about herself in the third person.
For me, the characters are what made this story exceptionally vivid and really difficult to put down.
The revelation of Samantha’s traumatic childhood during the climax really added to her character arc but it was a bit of a surprise. I’d have loved to read more about this and her feelings on the matter even in passing before it was revealed at the end. Hopefully there’s more about this in book two, plus more romance between Sam and Logan!
Spells & Ashes was a thoroughly entertaining read and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
This book has earned The Secret Library Recommended Reads seal!
Spells & Ashes is available on Amazon and as of the time of this post, the e-book format is completely free! This is a highly recommended book so get yourself a copy before you have to start paying for it!
Thanks for reading!