Plot: With an initially brisk pace that settles into a steady simmer, author Melissa Bobe takes a cauldron of familiarity and nonetheless brews it into something undeniably engaging and entertaining that is sure to keep readers turning the page.
Prose/Style: The accessible, organic prose of Nascent Witch acts as a foundational soil, channeling an ability to bring the magic of its scenarios and scenes to life with dazzling bursts of colorful descriptors that feel natural amidst the more earthen language.
Originality: Though offering up several intriguing explorations and deviations, Nascent Witch may ultimately feel familiar to readers who are well-versed in the genre circles it hones its magic in.
Character Development/Execution: While the characters of Nascent Witch aren't necessarily fresh windows through which to view the genre, they are nonetheless crafted with care, with kinetic interactions and well-thought-out dialogue that both fit the niche as well as imbue them with an inescapable, organic sense of charm and personality.
Date Submitted: May 01, 2021
A young woman’s initiation as a witch brings her past back to haunt her in this contemporary fantasy novel.
Though she once dreamed of becoming an artist, Sela Glaser now ekes out a living in the gig economy. Rushing to her next hustle, Sela almost hits an animal she thinks is a raccoon. Or a cat? It’s neither, the creature—named Sable—indignantly informs her. His form is sometimes feline, sometimes human; he’s full-time snarky; and he has astonishing news. With her 28th birthday approaching, Sela is coming into her power as a witch. Sable is her familiar, and they must bond in Sela’s Nascent Eve ceremony or she’ll lose her abilities (and betray Sable). It’s true that as a teenager, Sela cast spells with her three-girl coven, but that was just fooling around...wasn’t it? Several otherwise-unexplainable magical events convince her of the truth, but the path of true witchery isn’t smooth. Complications include a mysterious stalker, a new romance, serious consequences arising from that teenage spellcasting, and an unexpected wrinkle in Sela’s powers. With help from Sable and a local group of witches and familiars, Sela may find her true purpose. Bobe conjures up an appealingly relatable heroine in her second novel. Many readers will understand Sela’s frustrations with setting her dreams aside while trying to patch together enough temp jobs to pay the rent, for example, and her developing relationship with dentist Peter Cheng captures the sweetness and self-doubt of new romance. Humor lightens the novel as well. Meanwhile, the magical elements are all the more thrillingly strange and wonderful, sometimes deeply unsettling. The satisfying ending will leave readers hooked and hoping for more of Sela’s story.
An entertaining, engaging blend of millennial romance, occult fantasy, and witch-chick lit.