Cover Image: Witches Steeped in Gold

Witches Steeped in Gold

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Member Reviews

Found thhe book to be well written and magical. I really enjoyed the subject matter and the uniquness of the story. The culture within the storytelling is intriguing and blends well within the pages. Really liked the book.
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Incredibly immersive fantasy with well-crafted characters and an engaging plot. This title will appeal to a wide variety of YA readers. Strongly recommended for fans of Song of Wraiths and Ruin as well as Children of Blood and Bone.
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I was provided with a free advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

That's it, I'm officially a convert from medieval European fantasy to non-Western fantasy with diverse casts of characters. You just can't beat the fresh perspectives brought by simply WRITING A FANTASY NOVEL NOT INSPIRED BY MEDIEVAL EUROPE. Don't get me wrong, I love a good classic fantasy. But I think it's time for the OG fantasy writers to sit back and let the WOC take the lead for a while. This year has been the year of new voices in fantasy and I am here 👏for👏it👏. Ciannon Smart may be a debut author, but damn can she write. Her prose is GORGEOUS, and every phrase, every word choice, pulls you deeper and deeper into the story. I was constantly using the dictionary on my Kindle to find out what terms meant, and I LOVED IT.  Not only was the writing incredible, but the characters, plot, and world-building were first class. Ms. Smart really came out swinging, no holds barred. This book ends on a slight cliffhanger, so I am already desperate for the sequel. I will be hyping this book far and wide until then.
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I wanted to include a snippet of the beautiful author’s note in this book. 

“Witches Steeped in Gold is an ode to my love of magic and island tales—those of fact as well as fiction. It contains echoes of unity and resistance, in deference to Jamaica’s history; a fallen empire where power is as fickle as a coin toss, and competing hands scramble to catch it; two girls from enemy orders who dare to challenge the past, and the resulting twists and turns as they navigate their way to a new dawn.”

It’s a bit jarring at the beginning, in a good way. Especially since I have not gotten to experience a lot of diversity of cultures in many books I’ve read. As with any new world a reader is dropped in, we have to adapt quickly. That is until we can think straight, research, and get accustomed to the world the author offers to us. 

There’s mounds of information to consume in the beginning of this book as the author sets off at her own pace, a new and exciting pace that places us in the midst of these characters’ lives, where they’ve already been through so much and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

I enjoyed getting to know the two main leads, their side kicks, the people they trusted, the people they thought twice about. 

There’s beautiful and intricate imagery throughout. Monsters, witches, pirates, etc. 

Through many twists and turns, I ended up at the end of the book wanting MORE. I’m excited to see where the author takes us and how much more the characters develop in their journeys In the next book! 

Thank you so much for bringing the representation we need to not only YA novels, but all books.
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HOLY CRAP! This book was fantastic! 

First off the cover of this book is stunning! Its a piece of artwork in its self. 

Second the book has it all. Duality and dichotomy of heroes and villains. The Jamaican vibe throughout the book was a really interesting perspective as it is not very common. The main characters were all strong, smart, determined women; the world-building was pretty awesome! 

I would recommend!
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Smart's writing is phenomenal--full stop. Her worldbuilding is next level, and the emotional angst we feel on each page is bar none. What a lush, rich world we fall into within Witches Steeped In Gold. It sets her up to really build a loyal readership who will always picked up what she's putting down!
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. I am a little conflicted on this review. The good: the cover is absolutely stunning; the Jamaican vibe throughout was a really fresh and interesting perspective; the main characters were all strong, smart, determined women; the world-building was pretty solid. The not-so-good: there are a lot of characters and I found myself pretty confused throughout; the book is quite long, but I still felt like there wasn’t really a lot that happened. You could definitely tell the author was ramping this up to be a trilogy or series. Overall, I would recommend this one and I do think the series will improve over the next book or two. A solid 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.
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While I appreciate a beautiful world detailing various Jamaican magic and a plot to kill royalty, the writing style of this one just wasn’t my cup of tea. I was confused from the beginning and had trouble understanding what was going on. Even as the story developed, I found myself trying too hard to piece together characters, Magic’s, etc. For me, I want to read for enjoyment. So, if a story feels like it’s too much work to keep track of, it makes me not want to keep reading. I may be in the minority of readers on this, but I think my time may be better spent on other stories at this time.
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This is the story of two witches on opposite sides of a fight over the throne of a Jamaica-inspired island, both arguably the rightful heirs to the kingdom, who come together for the purpose of overthrowing the current ruler - who happens to be the mother of one of them. This book delivered on everything that was promised. It had a way of enveloping me in its magic and it world. It's an incredibly unique fantasy and I am adding it to the list of books that need to be adapted.
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I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a phenomenal read!

A story full of intrigue and told from opposing viewpoints. It felt action packed from the beginning! There's a big cast of characters who are memorable and have more than two dimensions. The world building is beautiful. It has magic and twists and turns!

An epic read for sure!
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One of the best books I have read this entire year! "Witches Steeped in Gold" does it all! Two opposing narratives, suspense, and slightly stress-inducing. 
The two main characters in the book come from two families. Iraya's family once ruled Aicaya that Jazmyne's mother dethroned. Both want revenge of a sort. In theory, they want the same thing, but they have different goals. Both PoVs are very distinct from the other. Iraya's is sarcastic and Jazmyne's is careful and both are calculative. Then there is Kirdan. I have never both simultaneously hated and loved a character so much before. Honestly, they all sent me on an emotional rollercoaster. 
The character development! THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! Beautiful! Iraya and Jazmyne are both so driven by their goals that they change when things don't go as they planned. It's also very clear why they changed, but apparently to Kirdan, it isn't, because if it did I wouldn't be as angry at him. Maybe. These women are just stunning! They are extremely passionate about what they think is right. They are selfish, but also selfless. Absolutely beautiful. I'm crushing on Iraya and Jazmyne so much!
The plot was also extremely well done. However, I wish the plot started later in the story. I understand why it started where it was, but the beginning does feel a little slow. It takes a while for Ira and Jazmyne's stories to intertwine, which is where the story begins to pick up. However, it is worth the wait! Also, some of the scenes at the beginning of the book felt a little unnecessary. But, they helped develop the characters, so I can't complain too much! I loved it!
The world-building was . . . SO MUCH FUN! The setting is based on Jamaica and the witches in this book are based around Caribbean culture. Also, there are pirates. I repeat, there are witches and pirates! So, um... Just read the book! It's fantastic. If you are looking for more unique and culturally representative world-building, buy this book! You just need to read it! It's fantastic! Of course, I recommend it! It's enjoyable and beautifully written. It's very obvious a lot went into this book and I am incredibly thankful that I was allowed the chance to read the ARC. I can't wait to buy this book and talk to others about it!
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This book is simply magical. I love the writers obvious passion for the Jamaican legends that she learned as a child and how she turned it into an inspiring first novel. Magic, legends, conflict, and suspense! I'm not usually one for fantasy novels, but this book has it all!
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Thanks to Netgalley for providing me a free Ebook in exchange for an honest review!

This is the best book I've read in a very long time! 

Point one: Great characters! Iraya is a badass for the ages, and I adored Jazmyne, too! Point two: Wonderful worldbuilding! Never in my life have I come across a Jamaican-inspired fantasy! Point three: A fabulous magic system! Family trees and inheritance and conduit metals! It's so unique! 

I literally cannot find anything I don't like about this book! 

I give Witches Steeped in Gold five stars out of five!
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This book was so tough to get through. While I love the characters and the story... there is so much detail that it makes it so hard to get through. While I had trouble making it through the book as quickly as I normally read, I do recommend you give it a chance because it is a wonderful story with vibrant characters.
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This is the story of two witches on opposite sides of a fight over the throne of a Jamaica-inspired island, both arguably the rightful heirs to the kingdom, who come together for the purpose of overthrowing the current ruler - who happens to be the mother of one of them. Overall, the premise and atmosphere were exciting and full of potential, but the actual execution left a lot of things unclear as the plot unfolded.

The thing that stands out most here is the magic system. It is clearly inspired by the Jamaican mythos, but the reliance of all magic-users on gold was a really interesting device. The inclusion of deep patwah/patois as the language used in great magical workings was excellent, and overall although I can't say I have a comprehensive understanding of the magic system, neither do the two point of view characters so we're all on even footing.

With the twists and turns the plot took, however, there was very little (if any) foreshadowing which made them seem almost entirely random. It seemed to be gearing up to some really interesting character developments, until the introduction of a story about ancient artifacts at which point the story kind of turned into something of a Horcrux search, and almost entirely abandoned the rebellion plot line, only to return to it so quickly that I got mental whiplash. The narrators weren't unreliable, but it almost seemed that way because plot developments popped out of nowhere with increasing frequency as the book went on.

Although this would have been a 5* read for me, the lack of clarity behind a lot of the plot elements - to the point where some of them seemed very deus ex machina - knocked it down to 4*. This is not a quick read, but for fantasy lovers who are looking for something to shake up their day I think this is going to be a hit.
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Wow! That was intense. I have to be honest,  I was very confused in the beginning. There are a lot of characters and magic to remember. The world building is great though, I definitely wanted more. This book is rich and a very slow burn. The author took time writing this gem.

I loved it, love the characters, love the world and absolutely NEED the physical book! I don't know how I am going to wait for book 2!!!!

Thank you Harper Collins and Netgalley for letting me read this book in an exchange for an honest review.
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While the world building is excellent and complex, pacing is a serious problem in this work. The first half of the novel is painfully slow and most of the action driving events occur "off stage" so speak, resulting in hundreds of pages of the two protagonists reacting rather than doing (and those reactions are largely wishing they or their lives were different, that they were older, that past traumas hadn't occurred, etc.). The pace radically increases in the second half, which is refreshing, but ultimately the increase in pacing has minimal payoff as the sudden rush towards the end results in an abrupt cliffhanger. In some ways the reader is left feeling like they just read a 500+ page background or grounding preface, rather than a novel/story in its own right. The second volume, when it comes, will hopefully result in more meaningful action that will move the plot forward. Fans of Laurie Forest's The Black Witch Chronicles should give it a try.
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Overall I thought this was a very interesting story. I appreciated the world building and the character portrayals. The relationships between characters were intense, and overall this was a dark and interesting book. Unfortunately for me, the pacing was too slow and I had trouble getting into the flow of the story. I think people who like more slow-burn fantasy will greatly enjoy this book.
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There are times when we must step into our own skin. There are times when  our lives are planned for us. This tale is of two young women, both fighting to live. Both working towards a destiny that can free them or their people. The book is magical,  both light and dark. There is patois or patwah speech, twists and unexpected turns. It is the first in a remarkable series. I expect great things from this author.
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