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Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who bar Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader. And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next. With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that's impossible to put down.


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Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who bar Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology in an epic clash of witches and gods, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic trilogy and A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader. And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer's motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don't stop the Butcher, one of them will be next. With razor-sharp prose and achingly real characters, E. Latimer crafts a sweeping, mesmerizing story of dark magic and brutal mythology set against a backdrop of contemporary Ireland that's impossible to put down.

30 review for Witches of Ash and Ruin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)

    I received an early copy of this book to review *4.5/5 stars My god, this book. I knew I was going to like it - it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year - but MY GOD. So, straight off the bat we have Irish witchy vibes, following multiple characters of the LGBTQ+ community (bisexual, lesbian), the main character living with OCD, and the angsty hate-to-love trope. Are you in yet? Because that's all I needed to know beforehand. And while that may sound like there's a lot going on, trust I received an early copy of this book to review *4.5/5 stars My god, this book. I knew I was going to like it - it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year - but MY GOD. So, straight off the bat we have Irish witchy vibes, following multiple characters of the LGBTQ+ community (bisexual, lesbian), the main character living with OCD, and the angsty hate-to-love trope. Are you in yet? Because that's all I needed to know beforehand. And while that may sound like there's a lot going on, trust me when I say it works . Everything about this book just felt right. The witchy atmosphere was instantly believable, and one I fell into without a problem. If anything, I wanted more of it - just slightly more about the general small town community she lived in and its affect on her life. The severity of her secrets being revealed in this conservative town didn't quite reach the mark for me, though with most of the book spent in a separate area almost away from the town, it's easy to see why this might've happened. Still, I was drawn into this book entirely. It especially helped that the relations between characters were just so interesting, ranging from friendly banter and sarcasm, to angsty glares and protective covens. Without question, I wholeheartedly believed these characters were exactly as described, and couldn't help falling into their story. And what a story it was. Magic and murder mystery? I'm sold. I adored the Celtic mythology ties to this whole gritty murder plot. I'll say right now, it's dark. It's bloody, there's mutilation involved, rituals and sacrifices and everything. But my god is it written well for that dark tone. There were moments where I felt genuine chills run down my spine, reading scenes that sounded like something from a horror movie. It's been a long time since a book pulled that reaction from me, let me tell you. But equally so, there's enough lightness and soft, family/friend scenes to pull the book out of being downright horrific, and it's that balance that toyed with my emotions and made me love the book. I feel like not enough people are talking about this, despite it being what so many people are looking for. So if you're reading this and like the sound of Celtic mythology, Irish witches, angsty relationships with the added sprinkling of bisexual and OCD rep, all I can say is READ THIS BOOK! TW: self harm, OCD, panic attacks

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    This was a swing and a miss. I picked up this book knowing it was perfectly suited to me. If I have one passion in this life, it is queer witches in Ireland dealing with mental health issues. And yet almost nothing about this book worked for me. Instead of a central narrator, or even two, this book is absolutely full to bursting with unnecessary POVs. If any character is missing any information, rest assured that the next chapter will be narrated by someone else entirely new that will fill you in This was a swing and a miss. I picked up this book knowing it was perfectly suited to me. If I have one passion in this life, it is queer witches in Ireland dealing with mental health issues. And yet almost nothing about this book worked for me. Instead of a central narrator, or even two, this book is absolutely full to bursting with unnecessary POVs. If any character is missing any information, rest assured that the next chapter will be narrated by someone else entirely new that will fill you in on absolutely everything you ever needed to know. It got to a point where it felt like pandering, like the story didn't expect me to be willing to wait for any information or put together any pieces on my own. On top of that, I was frustrated by the characterization of our most central narrator, Dayna. She's a bisexual witch with OCD who was recently outed in her small, Irish town. She also completely shifts who she is from chapter to chapter. Is she shy? Is she abrasive? Is she frightened? Is she courageous? Is she ambitious? Is she unassuming? I promise you, whatever you decide, you'll be proven wrong within about 25 pages. This wasn't a case of character development, it was a case of a main character who wasn't fully fleshed out and truly suffered for it. I wanted to love a romance about angry girls who bond over magic, ambition, and a shared struggle with mental health but it was so hard to focus on that through all the noise. No reveals mean anything because the book doesn't let anything build up. You always know who the bad guy is, you always know what their next move is going to be. Trying to read this book is like reading a plot outline made before the actual story was written. It makes everything dry because you are never surprised by where it goes. And all of this isn't even touching on the fact that this isn't a self-contained story, it is absolutely the lead-in for a series. I wanted to love this. And I did appreciate Dayna's struggles with OCD (when they were actually on the page). I also loved her best friend, and I was invested in the ingrained nature of magic in this world. I loved this reality about girls who embrace their power instead of shying away from it. But that just couldn't make up for how dull the plot was or how many POVs there were. I wish I could have loved this, but I spent my entire time reading just wanting it to be over. Also, and this is a huge yikes in my opinion: (view spoiler)[ I don't like how this book handled the outing of the main character and I don't think the person who outed her was punished at all. In fact, that storyline was completely abandoned and it was not ok in the least. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    NAT.orious reads ☽

    Wait, what? This book features a modern witchcraft x Celtic mythology crossover AND OCD AND bisexuality? Em, excuse the fuck out of you for not being published earlier??? Wait, what? This book features a modern witchcraft x Celtic mythology crossover AND OCD AND bisexuality? Em, excuse the fuck out of you for not being published earlier???

  4. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    "Modern witchcraft blends with ancient Celtic mythology" — I'm listening? "Bisexual MC with OCD" — YES???

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    I am in love with everything about this book! This is grown-up Charmed* with a murder mystery to die for. We follow Dayna and several other characters (this is multiple POV) in a small, conservative Irish town. Add in a world of witches, black magic and death we have one of my favourite books of the year so far. I love anything to do with witches, and this book absolutely 100% satiated my cravings. The plot continued to drive forward; it never halted, so it was never, ever dull. I continued to fl I am in love with everything about this book! This is grown-up Charmed* with a murder mystery to die for. We follow Dayna and several other characters (this is multiple POV) in a small, conservative Irish town. Add in a world of witches, black magic and death we have one of my favourite books of the year so far. I love anything to do with witches, and this book absolutely 100% satiated my cravings. The plot continued to drive forward; it never halted, so it was never, ever dull. I continued to flip page after page as if it was my own personal book of shadows. This book might actually be my book of shadows. Characters are so three-dimensional that even with this fantasy world of witches, it felt insanely real. Real issues that made me relate, so I appreciated the representations of many of the characters. It wouldn't have worked if it wasn't so beautifully written. Extremely strong prose AND real characters AND fantasy world. Yep, I didn't think we could have it all, but this has made a believer out of me. If I could cast a spell and get you all to buy this book and read it, then I'm casting it right now with some blood magic and a full moon. You'll thank me later. *If Charmed included more diverse characters, that is. It's not 'really' like Charmed besides witches. And yes, I'm talking about the OG Charmed, not the fake that's currently on The CW.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ˗ˏˋ aphrodite ˊˎ˗

    ever wondered what a book centered around the 300 Fox Way women would look like? here she is. this was super atmospheric and the BEST witchy book I have ever read, mainly because of its realism and seemingly accurate portrayal of modern witchcraft (I say seemingly as I don’t identify as a witch but I do know ~some~ practices) I will say this is much more about witches tracking down a witch hunting serial killer than it is about celtic mythology which I went into expecting. now don’t get me wrong ever wondered what a book centered around the 300 Fox Way women would look like? here she is. this was super atmospheric and the BEST witchy book I have ever read, mainly because of its realism and seemingly accurate portrayal of modern witchcraft (I say seemingly as I don’t identify as a witch but I do know ~some~ practices) I will say this is much more about witches tracking down a witch hunting serial killer than it is about celtic mythology which I went into expecting. now don’t get me wrong, OF COURSE the mythology is there considering we are following witches who worship these deities. however I thought it would be more of a central theme than an overarching influence. that being said I still enjoyed the book a lot! the welcoming coven juxtaposed to the “catholic” cult religion of the small town brought frequent discussions about religion & faith which I liked. I also appreciate the bisexual & OCD rep with our mc. overall, a solid debut but much less “magical” than I was expecting. definitely would recommend for fans of the raven boys & practical magic.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    In the past couple of years (due in part to the release of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series, possibly?), I've noticed a huge number of occult YA novels being published, most of which have strong feminist and LGBTQ+ themes. I'm still not sure what to think of this emerging subgenre. On the one hand, it's nice to see diversity appearing more often in novels, and to see occult fantasy books making a comeback. On the other hand, the diversity often feels shoehorned in and forced, which i In the past couple of years (due in part to the release of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series, possibly?), I've noticed a huge number of occult YA novels being published, most of which have strong feminist and LGBTQ+ themes. I'm still not sure what to think of this emerging subgenre. On the one hand, it's nice to see diversity appearing more often in novels, and to see occult fantasy books making a comeback. On the other hand, the diversity often feels shoehorned in and forced, which is what I found when reading Witches of Ash and Ruin. The book itself isn't a bad concept. It mixes contemporary ideas of pop witchcraft with more traditional mythology, bringing to life the idea that magic can still exist in modern, ordinary places. The potential for world-building, exciting happenings and unique characters is limitless in this type of scenario. That being said, I honestly didn't find that there was that much fantasy or magic in the story. There are a few notable instances, but it's more of a YA murder mystery drama with some tropes of the fantasy genre tossed in just for the hell of it. This is also another of those painfully desperate, "conservative = bad and backwards, liberal women = exciting and special" stories. This may have worked if the book was set in a much earlier era, or another location, but modern-day Ireland? It just doesn't fit very well or stand to reason that the main character would find it that difficult to fit in just because her town is predominantly conservative. As for the LGBTQ+ elements and the diversity, it's great to see a bisexual main character who is featured in a way that isn't campy or silly, but pile onto that OCD, a deadbeat mother and that she happens to practice witchcraft, and it just comes off like virtue signalling. I didn't get to know Dayna's personality as much as I knew her sexuality, mental conditions and her traumas of the past. Who is she as a human being? She's a witch. Well, yes, that's indicated well enough on the cover, but who is she? Her personality comes out more as the book goes on, but it still really feels lacking. I appreciated the Celtic mythology and aspects of Irish folklore, and the book is pretty accurate in its depiction of this, although less so in its depiction of witchcraft itself, which here is mixed up as some quasi-Wicca/freemasonry-esque social club, while the opposing coven is bad for dabbling in black magic, but the good magic that Dayna and her coven practice isn't so different... it's kind of just all mixed up. Still, the author does a good job of describing all these elements and weaving them into a hybrid kind of occultism all its own, which was interesting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    This book is absolutely amazing! I mean queer witches, serial killers and Ireland, that’s one hell of a great combo in my books and screams READ ME to me. I was instantly hooked from the beginning, I mean how could I not be considering the subject matter, it’s like it was written with me in mind! I love that it features queer witches, it’s so refreshing to see featured more and more and especially in a YA novel, I think that’s really important. I really loved how snarky and sassy and dark the ch This book is absolutely amazing! I mean queer witches, serial killers and Ireland, that’s one hell of a great combo in my books and screams READ ME to me. I was instantly hooked from the beginning, I mean how could I not be considering the subject matter, it’s like it was written with me in mind! I love that it features queer witches, it’s so refreshing to see featured more and more and especially in a YA novel, I think that’s really important. I really loved how snarky and sassy and dark the characters were, it made it so easy to relate with them and care about them. It also got a big plus from me for taking a bit of a dark turn with the serial killer plot line , I love when things turn dark and sinister and dangerous. Long story short, I adored this book and highly recommend it! Plus, look at that STUNNING cover!!! ***I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and this in no way changes or affects my review.***

  9. 4 out of 5

    E. Latimer

    My mom gives this book 5 stars! JK, JK. This book will inevitably horrify my mother and she will pray for my soul (love you, mom!) In all seriousness, I'm SO excited for my witchlings to be out in the world, and since ARC copies are just now popping up in the wild, I wanted to do a short content warning for anyone who might need or want it: Trigger/Content Warning List: -Homophobia and forced outing (forced outing isn't on page/occurs prior to story). -Mention of/alluding to conversion therapy. -Self- My mom gives this book 5 stars! JK, JK. This book will inevitably horrify my mother and she will pray for my soul (love you, mom!) In all seriousness, I'm SO excited for my witchlings to be out in the world, and since ARC copies are just now popping up in the wild, I wanted to do a short content warning for anyone who might need or want it: Trigger/Content Warning List: -Homophobia and forced outing (forced outing isn't on page/occurs prior to story). -Mention of/alluding to conversion therapy. -Self-harm/blood magic. - Mention of rape. -Alluding to/mention of physical/emotional abuse Also, this may go without saying but I'm gonna say it anyways, because I never thought about this going into other books and ended up regretting it: If you have actual somatic OCD this book has the potential to trigger TF out of you. Unless you have a solid handle on your mental health going into this, PLEASE go in cautiously. WAR deals with health related obsessions, specifically breathing. If you have OCD and are unsure if this book will trigger you, please feel free to message me and ask. Stay witchy, my friends. x0x0x.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    For some reason I'm not connecting with this like I thought I would. I think sadly, this just isn't the read for me. I do love the witches and Celtic lore though, which is why I first picked it up. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  11. 5 out of 5

    mahana

    — review on my blog ✧ "Dayna was the only thing that made any of this bullshit worth it." So many people added this because I gave this 5 stars when I finished it (and was inarguably on a high after finishing such an intense book), but I decided to lower my rating after a few days of ruminating. First of all, I literally DESPISE the people saying "you never give anything 5 stars, so I added this because of you!" You literally do nothing but make me feel like shit. Also, most of the time I love — review on my blog ✧ "Dayna was the only thing that made any of this bullshit worth it." So many people added this because I gave this 5 stars when I finished it (and was inarguably on a high after finishing such an intense book), but I decided to lower my rating after a few days of ruminating. First of all, I literally DESPISE the people saying "you never give anything 5 stars, so I added this because of you!" You literally do nothing but make me feel like shit. Also, most of the time I love things everyone else hates. Therefore, please just make up your own minds about whether you want to read something because I'm really, really sick of people relying on me to determine if something is good. 98% of the time you dislike it then make a huge deal out of it to me and I hate hearing about it. I know this seems really, really petty but I don't like it at all and this is my PSA asking all of you to please stop. A coven of witches and a true crime fanatic notice a killing spree reminiscent of a historical serial killer repeating in their small Irish town, Carman. Dayna, the daughter of the reverend, recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed, while her absent mother who was forcibly removed to a behavioural camp returns. Along with her best friend Reagan, she wants to ascend as a witch. Meanwhile, Meiner and Cora arrive in town to help the other coven. Between the two, there's a power struggle over who will lead the coven after Grandma King dies. Samuel, Dayna's ex-boyfriend, is a true crime fanatic, scrolling through forums and seeking information on the Butcher. His thorough information proves to be useful to the coven in uncovering information on the serial killer and his targets - who happen to be other witches. The reason I enjoyed this so much was how action-packed and interesting it was. Anyone who knows me is aware I get very bored with fantasy quickly, but there wasn't a single moment I wasn't engaged in this one. The last 40%, for example, is non-stop and keeps you glued to the pages in anticipation of the outcome. With the fantasy books I've read recently, I've found the complications towards the end are too quick and lack proper explanation, but Witches of Ash and Ruin is fight after fight after fight after battle after plot twist. It's probably one of the most engaging and intense complication scenes I've ever read. There was also wonderful diversity for a book set in a small-town of Ireland. Dayna, the main character out of six leads, has somatic OCD and Meiner insinuates she has something similar that she takes medication for. I'm not sure if the mental illness representation was #ownvoices or accurate/respectful, but there were discussions about the stigma surrounding medication as treatment and realistic depictions of panic attacks. Of course, Dayna is bisexual and Meiner describes herself as qu**r. They're in an f/f romance with each other, while Meiner and Cora briefly dated in the past. It's not exactly an f/f/f love triangle since there's no reciprocation from those in the f/f romance, but there's jealousy on Cora's part. In addition, Reagan, Dayna's best friend and also a witch, is Nigerian and has two mothers (one of which is Nigerian too). Dayna and Meiner's romance is, unfortunately, another one that suffers from "f/f fantasy that takes well-over half the book for them to begin developing a romance" syndrome. They sort of have a hate to love relationship since they argued when they first met, but it's never an intense dislike. We need a subgenre of that trope called "annoyance to lovers". There wasn't much tension where you - as the reader - were desperate for them to finally be together, but they were undeniably sweet when they finally overcame their barriers. The worldbuilding in Witches of Ash and Ruin is intense and enthralling throughout the entire novel. I was glued to the page and found I couldn't stop reading. The last 30% of the book is so intense that, despite being dog-tired, I stayed up late to fly through it. As I stated, it's one of the most action-packed final sections of a book I've ever read. The action is non-stop and engaging. In addition, I've discovered a lot of fantasy books don't necessarily describe the fight scenes in detail and I'm left confused, but I could grasp everything that was happening in this one. There's even a major cliffhanger, which I think suggests there'll be a sequel (at least I hope so because that would be torturous to leave it like that). I liked all of the characters and their entwining relationships since this was set in a town where everyone knows everyone. Despite there being about five perspectives, each could be distinguished as separate voices. Some might think Dayna's relationship with Sam - where she essentially uses his lingering feelings for her to her own advantage - was pointless, but he was included as a character to further the Butcher plot and established complications in Dayna's past. Moreover, I liked Dayna's emerging relationship with her mother, but it's incredibly difficult to describe without spoiling. Let's just say: I'm a fan of weird things. I love strange characters. I love when characters don't act like normal human beings. If that's something you're not particularly a fan of, maybe this won't be for you. Witches of Ash and Ruin is a fresh take on the witches genre in YA paranormal fiction and was such an enjoyable read! If you're expecting something like These Witches Don't Burn this definitely isn't the book for you. It focuses more on Celtic mythology, gods, triggering content, and is a lot gorier. I'd recommend with caution, but it was still an enjoyable read for me! rep: bisexual mc with OCD, sapphic mc with anxiety(?), sapphic mc, Nigerian side characters tws: homophobia, self-harm, mentions of rape, forced outing

  12. 4 out of 5

    alana ♡

    Rating: 3.5 Here for the bisexual witches, the fast paced plot, and anxiety rep but I need more world-building and answers. The only reason I knew this book took place in Ireland was from the synopsis and just the thought of the missed opportunity on how atmospheric this could have been is truly TRAGIC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mellie Antoinette

    Dayna ascends. Meiner watches from the edges ... jealous. Cora takes matters into her own hands. Dubh gives them something to talk about. A problem to solve. The coven of Carmen, Ireland gathers again. One lost to the pages time, Will rise in the shadows of the present.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    You know, I just clicked on this to make fun of the typical YA book title, but then you had me at “ancient Irish gods.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Dnf'ed at pg 59 Maybe it was me but it kinda felt like I had been thrown into the middle of the book instead of at the beginning. I ended up DNF'ing "Witches of Ruin and Ash" because I felt like I was missing a part of the book. I mean, the beginning of the book felt very abrupt/rushed to me, it would have been cool to have been eased a bit more onto the story, and have had more info about the world, the characters, etc. I ended up feeling like I was missing a lot of background and then the relati Dnf'ed at pg 59 Maybe it was me but it kinda felt like I had been thrown into the middle of the book instead of at the beginning. I ended up DNF'ing "Witches of Ruin and Ash" because I felt like I was missing a part of the book. I mean, the beginning of the book felt very abrupt/rushed to me, it would have been cool to have been eased a bit more onto the story, and have had more info about the world, the characters, etc. I ended up feeling like I was missing a lot of background and then the relationship felt like forced/instaloved to me, so... DNF it was. A pity, because I had big expectations for this one...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    That ending??? Uh spare sequel please??

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* E. Latimer's Witches of Ash and Ruin tells the tale of 17-year old Dayna Walsh and those around her as a serial killer enters her peaceful small town of Carman, Ireland and creates chaos. Dayna is a witch and so is her friend Reagan who apparently has two mothers. Dayna is the daughter of a local reverend. She recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed. On top of that, her absent mother Fio *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* E. Latimer's Witches of Ash and Ruin tells the tale of 17-year old Dayna Walsh and those around her as a serial killer enters her peaceful small town of Carman, Ireland and creates chaos. Dayna is a witch and so is her friend Reagan who apparently has two mothers. Dayna is the daughter of a local reverend. She recently ended a relationship with Samuel after her sexuality was forcibly outed. On top of that, her absent mother Fiona returns looking worse than when she left and she struggles to also deal with OCD. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Thank you Fantastic Flying Fiction Book Club, NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Witches Of Ash And Ruin By: E. Latimer *REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆ Welcome to the small Irish town of Carman. In Witches Of Ash And Ruin, set in this unassuming place, Celtic lore, unknown dangers and revelatory truths combine, creating a complex dynamic tale. History repeats when someone replicates the serial killer once Thank you Fantastic Flying Fiction Book Club, NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Witches Of Ash And Ruin By: E. Latimer *REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆ Welcome to the small Irish town of Carman. In Witches Of Ash And Ruin, set in this unassuming place, Celtic lore, unknown dangers and revelatory truths combine, creating a complex dynamic tale. History repeats when someone replicates the serial killer once known as The Butcher- running rampant once again. Dayna, the reverend's daughter, recently outed as bisexual and suffering with OCD, along with her best friend, Reagan, and ex-boyfriend, Sam, make the connection to the historic serial killer and the latest target-witches. Dayna and her coven realize the grave danger they face, thus bringing all of their powers to bear. Magic and murder face off in brutal ways. This story is raw and dark, even more so because it's a young adult novel. It's a different sort of paranormal with witches unlike others I've read. Dayna and her coven are made of sterner stuff with more fortitude, and they present as a formidable force, indeed. The cast of characters are very diverse and representative of LGBTQt, OCD and other cultures. I am glad to see mental illness given proper attention because it's widespread but overlooked most of the time. This story is told from multiple points of view, and the author gives each a distinctive voice. Normally, I get confused by multiple perspectives, but I stayed on track this time. This is a well written story with a unique premise. There is much to recommend Witches Of Ash And Ruin, but remember it is a darker side of young adult paranormal fiction. If you can handle that, this book is waiting for you!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Patty (IheartYA)

    I'm a sucker for books about witches. I occassionally felt vibes of The Raven Boys due to the world building, characters and mystery. The story starts off slow, and I wish the first 3/4 of it had the same flow, tone and intensity as the end. I enjoyed the Ireland setting; it gave the story a realistic feel. I liked the characters, but as usual for me, I disliked the multiple POVs and it really impacted my opinion of the book. The romantic build up was interesting and sometimes suspenseful. Overa I'm a sucker for books about witches. I occassionally felt vibes of The Raven Boys due to the world building, characters and mystery. The story starts off slow, and I wish the first 3/4 of it had the same flow, tone and intensity as the end. I enjoyed the Ireland setting; it gave the story a realistic feel. I liked the characters, but as usual for me, I disliked the multiple POVs and it really impacted my opinion of the book. The romantic build up was interesting and sometimes suspenseful. Overall, a dynamic book with a unique world and story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Thank you to NetGalley for the arc. With a cover and a title like this, what can go wrong? A lot. Five POVs. Subpar twists. Way too much happening for me to focus on one thing at a time. I felt like my brain was knocking around in there and I couldn't get focused. Nothing truly shocking happens since everything is sort of upfront and in your face. I did not feel connected to the characters or the story. There was so much anger and so much confusion in the characters that in the tiny bits of breaks Thank you to NetGalley for the arc. With a cover and a title like this, what can go wrong? A lot. Five POVs. Subpar twists. Way too much happening for me to focus on one thing at a time. I felt like my brain was knocking around in there and I couldn't get focused. Nothing truly shocking happens since everything is sort of upfront and in your face. I did not feel connected to the characters or the story. There was so much anger and so much confusion in the characters that in the tiny bits of breaks, it felt forced. Not to mention one POV was completely forgotten by the end of the book as if he didn't matter, which I guess he really didn't if I had to choose. That being said, this story did have amazing Celtic folklore and I loved the setting and the family dynamics. I felt a bit of The Craft and maybe some Sabrina, but we didn't get too in-depth to feel that connection I did with characters from both of those examples. This may seem like a scathing review, but it's not. I don't think this was the book for me and others may enjoy it immensely.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fabienne Schwizer

    Murrrrderrrr. Murder most foul in quaint Ireland. I love myself a good murder mystery, and especially one that involves magic and rituals. The premise of a serial killer reappearing after years intrigued me from the start, and was well executed into its details – E. Latimer went into a lot of nuance to craft things quite right and avoid potential loopholes! This is interwoven with Celtic legend, which made my medievalist heart very happy. It is not so mythology heavy to weigh down the book for t Murrrrderrrr. Murder most foul in quaint Ireland. I love myself a good murder mystery, and especially one that involves magic and rituals. The premise of a serial killer reappearing after years intrigued me from the start, and was well executed into its details – E. Latimer went into a lot of nuance to craft things quite right and avoid potential loopholes! This is interwoven with Celtic legend, which made my medievalist heart very happy. It is not so mythology heavy to weigh down the book for those not familiar with Irish and the Irish tradition (which, from my experience teaching undergraduates is quite hard to get into at first), but just enough so to enhance the world-building and give it another dimension. As a nerd, I went and looked up the stories referenced, which made me enjoy Witches of Ash and Ruin even more – but that is absolutely not necessary. The magic system used by the witches in the book themselves is relatively separate from these legends, apart from referencing deities that individual witches pledge themselves to. And oh the witches. Traumatised Dayna, needing protection, after having been outed as bisexual in her conservative, religious community. Tall, mysterious and distant Meiner, too soft in her grandmother’s opinion, trying to figure out who she wants to become. I think I too fell a little in love with her. Ambitious Cora, and free-spirited Reagan. Well-crafted, though not always as nuanced as I would have liked, the young generation of witches have their distinct personalities and roles to play in the story. In general, many of the characters were not necessary likeable, but interesting – but then, I don’t read books because I’m looking to find fluffy, nice people I want to be friends with. I really enjoyed reading Witches of Ash and Ruin, and raced through the story to find out how it ended. While elements of the story were predictable at times, it did not detract from the pacing and the book as a whole. It worked well as a standalone novel, and I am very curious to read what E. Latimer comes up with next!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    This book totally did not work for me, despite having all these great elements: witches, gods, witch killers, Celtic myths, main character who’s bisexual, has family issues and has anxiety-induced OCD. The book started out all right, and a short way in I realized I didn’t care about any of the characters, whether main or supporting, and the antagonists were just dull. In fact, a lot of this book was dull and overwritten. I started skimming, a sentence here, a sentence there, about 30% of the way This book totally did not work for me, despite having all these great elements: witches, gods, witch killers, Celtic myths, main character who’s bisexual, has family issues and has anxiety-induced OCD. The book started out all right, and a short way in I realized I didn’t care about any of the characters, whether main or supporting, and the antagonists were just dull. In fact, a lot of this book was dull and overwritten. I started skimming, a sentence here, a sentence there, about 30% of the way into the story, and still knew what was happening....And the story ends on a cliff, and I’m not following it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Megan (Under the Book Cover)

    WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS BOOK OMG. This is one of my favorite reads of 2020 and one of my new favorite books of all-time!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    actual rating: 2.5 This sounded like a really good idea but unfortunately I don't feel like any part of it was executed very well. Was it supposed to be a romance book? Because there is attraction between the two main characters but it isn't developed very much at all, to the point where their kiss even feels a bit out of nowhere when it happens. Was it supposed to be a mystery? Because by giving the killer a POV we pretty much know exactly how everything is going right from the beginning. Yeah t actual rating: 2.5 This sounded like a really good idea but unfortunately I don't feel like any part of it was executed very well. Was it supposed to be a romance book? Because there is attraction between the two main characters but it isn't developed very much at all, to the point where their kiss even feels a bit out of nowhere when it happens. Was it supposed to be a mystery? Because by giving the killer a POV we pretty much know exactly how everything is going right from the beginning. Yeah there were a few things revealed later on but I definitely never felt curious about anything here. And speaking of POVs, did we really need FIVE of them? I think it would have been much better with just the POVs for the two main characters. The author could have easily incorporated the few POV chapters their friends got into their chapters without losing much and the killer POV was as I said before totally unnecessary. It would have also probably cut down on the length of the book because boy is it long. And of course there's a nice little set up for a sequel at the end where we learn that nothing has really been resolved at all! Unfortunately I'll be skipping the rest of this series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Frenette

    I loved this book!! Witches and Gods and a serial killer or two or maybe three. Lots of action..this will be a favorite of mine this year I'm sure.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andee

    This book referenced Celtic myths even I didn't know about, and gods and stories I did know about but knew were not well known. This was an amazing story, mixing modern-day problems with ancient traditions interwoven and it was beautiful.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    *five hours of sustained screaming*

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lucie

    Now this was the witchy book of my dreams. It blends modern witchcraft and Celtic mythology, it's quite dark and full of rage at times, it has a bisexual main character with OCD, a f/f romance I loved and characters I felt really close to because we share very similar reactions and emotions. I was so compelled by this story and couldn't put it down; I'll sure keep an eye out for what E. Latimer will write next!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Last year there were a number of 'witchy' type book releases that promised a whole host of witchvibes but none of them delivered on that promise for me. (Looking at you Serpent & Dove.) Then along comes Witches of Ash and Ruin, with very little fanfare in the wider online book community and well... this was exactly the type of book I was looking for. The atmosphere reminded me of Sawkill Girls in the way that it was creepy, a little gruesome in places, very gay and had an overarching mystery. So Last year there were a number of 'witchy' type book releases that promised a whole host of witchvibes but none of them delivered on that promise for me. (Looking at you Serpent & Dove.) Then along comes Witches of Ash and Ruin, with very little fanfare in the wider online book community and well... this was exactly the type of book I was looking for. The atmosphere reminded me of Sawkill Girls in the way that it was creepy, a little gruesome in places, very gay and had an overarching mystery. So, if you enjoyed that book, you'll most definitely enjoy this one. I struggled a little bit with the alternating POVs to begin with because the chapters were very short and it took a while to get attached to both character and story, but once I got to about the 30% mark I was all in! I really enjoyed how the majority of the characters served a purpose in the narrative, how it all came together and how they seemed to be very well fleshed out as individuals. The use of Celtic mythology within this modern-day coven was really well done and I'm so glad that we got so much of it. This looks to be a standalone just now, but I'm excited to keep an eye on this author's upcoming releases!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    I have wanted to read this since before it came out, and now that I have... I am more than a little disappointed. There are so many great elements, and both the premise and the general direction of the story are intriguing. However the various elements are not seamlessly woven into the narrative, but sort of “sprinkled” here and there. The world building is nearly non-existent, and that makes for something that feels rather patched together. The story progresses relatively quickly, but the overu I have wanted to read this since before it came out, and now that I have... I am more than a little disappointed. There are so many great elements, and both the premise and the general direction of the story are intriguing. However the various elements are not seamlessly woven into the narrative, but sort of “sprinkled” here and there. The world building is nearly non-existent, and that makes for something that feels rather patched together. The story progresses relatively quickly, but the overuse of inner dialogue combined with the stumbling narrative style makes the pace feel much slower, even tedious at times. Even the reveals felt underwhelming, and the stuff that should have been big reveals isn’t broken down and said out loud, just sort of hinted at, counting on the reader to assemble the pieces — which would normally be fine, but the pieces are so, so scattered! I did like several characters (though I didn’t find most of them fleshed out enough, or easily distinguishable from everyone else) and the general direction the story took, and I originally rated it 3 stars, but I now realize that I would have zero interest in reading a sequel, so I’m settling at 2 1/2 STARS. It’s not terrible, just rushed and unsatisfying.

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