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Witches of Ash and Ruin

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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 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.

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

E. Latimer

4 books291 followers
E. Latimer is the author of The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray and Witches of Ash and Ruin.

Her third book, Escape to Witch City, comes out from Tundra Books August 2021.

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5 stars
357 (19%)
4 stars
654 (36%)
3 stars
539 (30%)
2 stars
190 (10%)
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47 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 467 reviews
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
451 reviews6,946 followers
March 5, 2020
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
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,310 followers
June 19, 2020
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:
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
848 reviews339 followers
Want to read
May 4, 2020
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???

Profile Image for Gavin Hetherington.
673 reviews5,613 followers
April 15, 2020
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.
Profile Image for aphrodite.
388 reviews865 followers
May 25, 2020
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.
Profile Image for E. Latimer.
Author 4 books291 followers
November 6, 2019
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.

Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews754 followers
March 11, 2020
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.***
Profile Image for Alana.
663 reviews1,269 followers
February 25, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
January 5, 2020
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.*
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,262 reviews222 followers
August 5, 2020
Dayna Walsh is an Irish teenager with a lot going on. She's a witch, a real one that can do spells, and is part of a local coven. She's also recently been outed as bisexual to her entire school and family. On top of all that, her father is an evangelical semi-Christian cult leader whose strict rules and odd behavior has Dayna fleeing every chance she can get.

Then another witch is murdered in a disturbingly ritualistic way, Dayna's long-lost mother returns, another coven arrives in town which includes an ancient witch that was once kicked out of Dayna's coven and a much younger witch that Dayna is attracted to. Meiner King is the girl that Dayna is attracted to, and after some initial antipathy, the attraction is returned, but Meiner has nearly as much going on as Dayna does.


Ok, I've barely scratched the surface here. There's also heaps of stuff about witchcraft and celtic gods, serial-killing witch-slayers and plots within plots of the covens.

Sounds great right?

Nope. This fails at almost every level.

Quite clearly this is kitchen-sink level overstuffed, and because it's so overstuffed, there's simply no room to do things like show believable evidence that the main characters have mental health issues. Dayna for instance has OCD, but until she actually says that, the reader would have no idea from her behavior. There's no room here to "show", so we resort to "tell" at nearly every turn.

Plot points are so overly telegraphed that it's like the author is beating you around the head with them. For instance, at one point Dayna "levels up" to become a full witch and for most of a chapter gets constantly warned about not overusing the temporary extra magic she receives in the process. Guess what happens soon after? Go on ... you'll never guess! (Ok, maybe you will ...)

Interpersonal relationships between anyone but the main characters show signs of deep history, but isn't given room to emerge organically and instead appears with those characters taking actions that appear out of nowhere and are justified only as they do it. There's a character besides Dayna that has a thing for Meiner, and when she acts on it, it comes completely out of the blue despite Meiner having clearly known about it beforehand.

And finally, a lot of YA books get cliffhangers, but there aren't very many of them where the "good guys" get the snot kicked out of them, barely survive, and have the bad guys get everything they wanted.

This was a delete from eReader with prejudice. Terrible book and a rare one star from me.
Profile Image for m.
349 reviews52 followers
November 10, 2019
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
Profile Image for Lata.
3,593 reviews191 followers
June 18, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,738 reviews222 followers
March 11, 2020
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...
Profile Image for lady h.
639 reviews181 followers
November 26, 2020
I am always on the lookout for a witchy book that will give me similar vibe to Cate Tiernan's Sweep series, which is one of my all-time favorite series, and one I grew up with; I am constantly chasing the feelings it inspired in me. This book came quite close to mimicking those feelings! The witchy vibes are on-point; this is a truly atmospheric book, with so many little witchcraft details woven through. There's also gods, Irish mythology, lots of violence, murders, abusive guardians, f/f relationships, and mental health rep. And the writing is fantastic.

Sadly the ending leaves us with more questions than a standalone should leave you with; it looks like the author had intended for a second book but her publisher hasn't yet decided whether to go ahead with it, which is unfortunate!
Profile Image for Devann.
2,434 reviews134 followers
March 31, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Celia.
Author 6 books487 followers
January 27, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Sarah B.
836 reviews16 followers
March 7, 2021
It's very rare if a villian gives me a sense of evil from a book I'm reading but I sure got the evil vibes from this one near the end. It actually reminded me of the graveyard scene in Harry Potter when the Dark Lord returns...which makes sense as this book is about witches and magic too. And there's a darn good plot in here as well, one that I found very satisfying. And as the pages left to read grew super thin I must admit I had no idea how this was going to end. Things were so dark and everything was going wrong I just didn't see how anything could be right again...

But I won't tell you what happened. That would ruin the story. Just know there was a huge climax at the end, one worthy of a movie.

The chapters in this book alternate between several different main characters. Each one has their own problems and they are young witches in their own covens. Dayna is supposed to have OCD but truthfully I really don't see it in her - the book really doesn't mention it that much in my opinion - she does have family issues with her father being a local priest and she being a secret witch. There's a big problem right there. And Meiner meets her in a tea shop when they both want the same package of tea. Sparks fly in more than one way (as Dayna likes other girls).

Did I mention the serial killer that's running around killing people? For unknown reasons the killer has come to their sleepy little town and perhaps he may run across their path... I found this to be actually a very good thriller.. the killer certainly keeps the plot moving at a decent pace as well as the strife between the characters. And the grandmother in here! Oye! Is she something ever! That character alone will keep you guessing! No way to know who's side she actually is on. Or is she just out for herself?

The end did leave me with a few questions but I'm guessing there may be a sequel? All in all it's quite satisfying. The biggest question I have is about the events at the end and if the authorities had questions about what had actually happened as it's clear the main characters certainly can't mention witchcraft!

A good solid book with a well thought out, decent plot and lots of details.
Profile Image for Jennie Damron.
466 reviews60 followers
February 18, 2021
My husband bought me this book for Christmas and I so hoped I would like it. I enjoyed this book so much. I love that the story takes place in Ireland and that Celtic gods are a part of the plot. Anything that has to do with witches, magic/dark magic, through in a serial killer mystery and I am sold.
The characters were wonderful and I liked all of them, yes even the evil ones. The plot was solid and I loved how fast paced the story flowed. I am so glad I read this book and would highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,159 reviews458 followers
March 11, 2020
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy
*Rating* 3.5


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*

Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,524 reviews60 followers
April 10, 2020
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!
Profile Image for clem.
520 reviews372 followers
July 11, 2020

Instagram | youtube

An overlooked sapphic debut that had a lot to offer for fans of Charmed and Supernatural, alas I hated the perspectives and couldn't bother to care about the story.
Profile Image for Fab.
336 reviews11 followers
March 24, 2020
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!
Profile Image for Tracy Frenette.
162 reviews17 followers
March 10, 2020
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.
March 29, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Sandra Lawerson.
422 reviews164 followers
April 29, 2021

Vaya, Sandra. ¿Qué es eso que veo? ¿Es otro libro sobre brujas? ¿Y tiene asesinatos? Sí, este año me he propuesto leer todo libro de brujas que caiga entre mis manos. Ya llevamos una buena temporada viendo cómo estos seres sobrenaturales poco a poco vuelven a hacerse hueco dentro de la literatura y La hermandad de las brujas de Carman es un libro que me entró por los ojos en cuanto supe de su existencia. Brujas con un poder peligroso, amenazas en forma de sangre y todo dentro de Irlanda. ¿Qué podría salir mal?

La hermandad de las brujas de Carman es un libro narrado a través de la perspectiva de diferentes narradores, cuatro en concreto, haciendo que los capítulos se vayan intercalando y alternando sin problemas los unos con los otros para contarnos, en un principio, cuatro historias diferentes que, al final, se conectarán sin poder evitarlo. Aunque al comienzo del libro iba un poco perdida ya que todavía no conocía a estos protagonistas que van a ir apareciendo y no sabía quién era quién, sin dudarlo La hermandad de las brujas de Carman ha sido una lectura bastante amena gracias a este detalle de estar siempre en un lado o en otro, y dentro de diferentes escenarios que dejan sus propios elementos o huellas, una manera de crear esas subtramas que consiguen sentirse diferentes de las demás y que van a dar soplos de aire fresco cada dos por tres que se agradecen totalmente. Además, los capítulos son muy cortos y directos, sin tener grandes espacios de pausa que, quizás, podrían ralentizar bastante una lectura que tampoco se hace monótona en ningún momento. Es por eso que estamos ante un libro que tiene un ritmo vertiginoso y en el que siempre vamos a tener algo que ver, con escenas más hechas a la breve explicación de esta magia o hermandades que vamos a tener por delante, a medida que se va desarrollando por detrás ese asunto de los asesinatos que van a estar afectando a nuestras protagonistas en mayor o menor medida.

Eso también ha hecho que haya muchas dosis de acción y de batallas en prácticamente todos los capítulos, de juegos mentales incluso, teniendo sus momentos de misterio o de hechizos que, personalmente, me han gustado, una lectura que está bien dosificada en cuanto a ritmo hasta dejarnos un final que, sin dudarlo, me ha dejado bastante descolocada. Aunque, por desgracia, no en el buen sentido.

Y es que, vale, La hermandad de las brujas de Carman es un libro que se puede leer sin problemas en un par de tardes en las que vas a estar entretenido o entretenida, pero esa rapidez de la que os acabo de hablar ha perjudicado, y mucho, al transcurso de una historia que, al final, se me ha quedado bastante floja y superficial en casi todo.

Comenzando por el principio, el misterio desde el que parte la sinopsis, y una de las cosas que más me llamaron la atención para leer este libro, ha sido algo decepcionante. Lo que yo creía iba a ser una incógnita que iba a jugar con nuestras teorías e hipótesis al final se ha quedado como un misterio que se resuelve ya en el segundo capítulo, teniendo al culpable de esos actos como un narrador más que nos va a contar, desde bien temprano, qué es lo que ha hecho y bajo qué propósito. Cuando me dí cuenta de que ya al abrir el libro sabía el nombre y apariencia del culpable pensé que era más una estrategia de la autora de cara a algo más grande que tenía guardado, pero no ha sido así, por lo que ese misterio que tanto prometía se queda super insulso y sin potencia alguna.

Tras esto, tengo que mencionar aquí la propia ambientación del libro, que tampoco ha estado aprovechada. Creo que la autora ha sabido innovar y traer algo nuevo y original como es el folclore celta, dejando nombres de Dioses que jamás había oído antes y que le daban al libro un toque diferente. Que yo recuerde, nunca antes me había asentado en Irlanda dentro de un libro y tengo que reconocer que es algo que me tenía ilusionada. Sin embargo, y a pesar de que hay algunas cosas muy interesantes, siento que nada se ha tocado con la profundidad que se merece, dejando muy desaprovechada, como digo, cada una de las ideas que la autora tenía y dejando, al final, una mera mención de esos Dioses, costumbres y creencias que se nos van a mostrar. Mirando también hacia la otra cara de la ambientación está el tema de las hermandades que, si bien es cierto que las dos tienen sus propias peculiaridades y hay una que ha destacado por encima de la otra gracias a que muestra una magia o rituales más oscuros y macabros, he echado en falta, una vez más, explicaciones que crearan mejor un mundo que no mira más allá de esas dos hermandades, dando la sensación de que son las únicas que existen en el mundo o, al menos, en Irlanda. Me hubiera gustado tener una exploración más viva de todo esto, meterme entre sus entresijos y conocer otros sistemas o maneras de ser una bruja, pero no ha podido ser.

Por último, la rapidez de la trama también ha afectado a la propia creación y evolución de los personajes. Como ya os he dicho, tendremos a cuatro principales pero, a pesar de meternos en sus mentes, nunca he llegado a conocerlos o a empatizar con ellos ya que tampoco se tratan de manera muy profunda. Es cierto que Dayna puede ser el personaje más complejo de todos, teniendo una historia personal algo perturbadora a causa de un padre que cree más en la palabra de Dios que en su propia hija, pero no es algo que tampoco haya dado mucha guerra ya que, además, es un entorno que no ofrece al final gran cosa. Es por eso que los personajes no me han dicho casi nada, me he quedado con sus nombres, apariencias y sus papeles dentro de la historia, pero nunca ha habido una intención mucho más elaborada para ellos. Esto ha repercutido también en sus relaciones, tanto de amistad como romántica ya que, por ejemplo, dos de nuestras protagonistas se enamoran nada más verse, dejando un instalove que no se llega a degustar bien y que no tiene creación alguna que deje esa parte mejor vista.

A pesar de tener estos fallos, lo veía todo como una consecuencia, también, de ser un libro autoconclusivo. Sin embargo, el final que da apunta a todo lo contrario, por lo que no he entendido las prisas que ha tenido la autora para contarnos esta historia si va a haber continuación, en lugar de tomarse más pausadamente cada uno de estos elementos de su historia para tratarlos mucho mejor. Creo que, bajo esa perspectiva, podría haber profundizado absolutamente en todo sin problemas, pero no se ha atrevido.

Así pues, La hermandad de las brujas de Carman es un libro que tiene una idea muy llamativa y original, pero no llega a explotar del todo y, al final, se trata de una historia que se queda a medias. Sin demasiada profundidad en sus personajes o ambientación, la resolución temprana del misterio tampoco ayuda a que la lectura ofrezca algo más y, por desgracia, se queda como un libro más que podría haber sido espectacular.
Profile Image for Lucie.
828 reviews88 followers
April 3, 2020
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!
Profile Image for belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo).
1,713 reviews139 followers
January 2, 2021
wanted to like this but sadly, didn't. however, still enjoyed it and the concept.

trigger and content warnings: OCD, self- harm, homophobia, abuse, mentions of rape, outed, panic attacks, anxiety

full review with spoilers:

there were a lot of things that happened instantly. from the first chapter, the tone for the setting already alludes that something sinister and dangerous is going to happen. also, we get to know the main players within the first few chapters. i wasn’t expecting multiple point of views but was glad since we are reading and experiencing how the story is unraveling for these characters.

my final thoughts on the multiple point-of-views is that i think i would prefer it without samuel’s perspective and more expansion on dubh’s. for samuel, his presence barely meant anything when the witchy chaos happened. also, he just dropped out of the picture like he didn’t matter even though he’s a point-of-view character. i didn’t get his involvement other than him giving dayna information about the butcher cause he’s the police’s son and him being dayna’s ex-boyfriend, and him being the one who outed dayna during the church prayer meeting thinking that he can “pray away” her bisexuality. didn’t like him from then on. as for dubh, i would like to know more about his family especially since he has two more brothers so why is his perspective the one the author chose to expand on. and what motivated him to be this blood-thirsty.

i love that it’s set in ireland and it’s about celtic mythology because i don’t read books like this often. also, throughout the book there are witchy elements such as tea readings, scrying, and tarot card readings that just make my heart very happy. also, rituals, spells and praying to goddesses are prevalent in the book as each witch are pledged to one immortal being when they ascend. on top of that, there’s a murder mystery going on but not so mysterious cause we know what’s up from the get go. it includes a serial killer called the butcher of manchester.

right off the bat, we sort of have an inkling of who are the bad and good witches and who are the humans. i did think it was quite mind-boggling and unrealistic that the good witches didn’t realise what was happening under their nose. but at the same time, you never do know anything until you notice them. sure, red flags and warning sirens might be blaring in your mind but you brush it off because you just don’t think so bad of people.

each character is flawed in some ways. none of them are perfect and one-dimensional. even the one that i thought to be okay turned out otherwise. also, i hated how the outed situation was handled, or how it wasn’t handled. nothing came out of it and no punishment was dealt.

although reagan isn’t a pov character, i still really liked her personality. her sisterly banter with dayna shows how close both of them are. they know each other’s struggles, can decipher their emotions and know what they’re feeling just by the other’s actions and body language.

one thing about dayna’s character is that i don’t know what to think about her. i get that she became a full witch after her ascension which made her feel more in control and powerful. but! she’s also always and had consistently scolded herself for panicking during the most dire moments when she needed to be invoking spells or protecting herself. and she gets overconfident during some moments especially when she think she can take down the serial killer. one instance she’s confident and the next she’s afraid.

the ending felt abrupt and chaotic for me so i couldn’t really grasp what was going on. however, i still got an understanding of the overall plot and its resolution. although the ending is open-ended, i don’t think i’ll be reading the sequel if it were to expand.
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