*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Halloween approaches and a prophecy has been foretold
Tilly Hart is grieving for her mother when she moves to the ancient village of Witheridge. Finding friendship and love, she also finds a place steeped in witchlore and the legend of a beast that stalks the moor.
Supernatural events and a hidden diary lead her to a village lost in time, a place where magic exists and demons walk the lands.
With newfound friends and the deadline of Halloween drawing near, she sets out to prevent an ancient evil from destroying all she loves.
Being both the hunter and hunted, she discovers she can control magic.
But magic is an addiction that can lead to evil.
A Rhyme of Dark Words is the first in what promises to be a fantastic new magic adventure for teens upwards.
The story starts with a fairly standard trope of the genre, as Tilly Hart and her dad move to a new area after the death of her mum, and she has to tackle making friends and fitting in whilst dealing with the grief of her loss.
And then, of course, the magic starts! Jeremy Smith has made the characters and story fresh and new; mixing the realities of loss, poverty and day-to-day humour with the arcane incantations and disembodied body parts.
There is plenty going on here: ghosts and witches, werewolves and witchhunters, and a strange, lost village where the mist holds horrors for the wandering teen. Tilly discovers her own magical powers, along with strength of mind and character, as the plot progresses, but she is up against some very tough odds in the form of experienced and evil witches from the past.
Luckily she has the abrasive Becks and indomitable Wilf along for support, romance and comic relief (and a whole of bickering)! Their blossoming friendship reminded me of the best elements of other famous trios, like Harry, Ron and Hermione or Buffy, Xander and Willow. The tone of the dialogue and the style of the action also reminded me of the monster-kicking adventures of Sunnydale’s Scooby Gang.
My one annoyance with the character dynamic here was Wilf’s inability to accept no for an answer. It is clear to the reader that the object of his affection does in fact return his affections, but she clearly and repeatedly rejects him and yet he continues to pester her to the point of harassment. I’m not keen on this aspect of his character, as this sort of attitude perpetuates a culture of ‘she said no, but I know she wants it really’ which is toxic in reality.
Still, this didn’t detract from the fantastic plot or my affection for the intrepid trio. I will 100% by treating myself to the rest of this series, and will be introducing Minishine to Tilly too, once she is old enough to handle the spookier stuff. This is definitely not one for younger readers or the faint of heart, but it is absolutely PERFECT for some witchy reading this Halloween!
‘Brocken Manor?’ Rebecca repeated, sounding even more unsure.
‘It’s just over there. Big building, can’t miss it.’ Tilly pointed. ‘Come back for a drink. It’ll be good to know a few faces at school.’
‘Well, I suppose. But any strange goings-on and I’m out.’
Tilly worked her way through the trees and back to the path, giving the bottom of her T-shirt a quick wring out. ‘Strange goings-on? It’s not haunted.’
Rebecca and Wilf gave each other a knowing look.
– Jeremy Smith, A Rhyme of Dark Words
A Rhyme of Dark Words is available on Amazon right now!