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Nascent Witch
Melissa Bobe, author
Sela Glaser is hurrying to one of her many temp jobs when she nearly runs over a talking cat named Sable. He reveals that Sela is a soon-to-be witch and he’s going to be her familiar. For a twenty-seven-year-old failed artist with heaps of student debt and no career prospects, this is pretty ground-breaking news. As Sable prepares Sela for her Nascent Eve, a witch’s ritual initiation, she finds herself dreaming of witches she’s never met before. Then, Sela meets what very well might be the man of her dreams, or at least the one to save her from an endless purgatory of dating apps…if only she didn’t have to hide her witchy destiny from him. But when Sela’s Nascent Eve goes awry, she and Sable learn that unseen magic from her past is starting to wreak havoc on her already chaotic present, putting that witchy destiny of hers in jeopardy. Sela has to figure out how to control her powers before things get worse, but a visit home reveals that fixing the past might be much more complicated than Sela or Sable realize. And when the witches from Sela’s dreams begin to appear in real life, questions arise about exactly what kind of witch this frazzled millennial really is. All of this would be a hell of a lot easier to deal with if Sela didn’t have a magical stalker interrupting all of her most romantic dates, and if her familiar’s ice cream addiction wasn’t driving her further into debt. But what’s a witch to do?
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.75 out of 10

Assessment:

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

Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

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.

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