Fully convinced Cherie Dimaline could publish a grocery list and I would thoroughly enjoy it. I loved this story involving witches and witch hunters! Great plot and characters.
Thank you to netgalley for providing an e-galley for review. This was a fun and exciting read. A group of witches has limited time to find each other to form a coven. The witches find Salem spoons to fully awaken their powers. While the witches are finding each other, a witch hunter is also on their trail, picking off older witches, trying to keep them from forming the coven. Witches from Salem to modern day
I loved following Lucky and her grandmother on their adventure, meeting so many interesting people and exploring such a wealth of history and magic. While the story was slow at times, the focus really lies with the characters and exploring the rich diversity of magical beliefs; each culture has their own structure and we get a taste of that through just a handful of characters.
This book has a promising premise, but it doesn't live up to it in the actual telling of the story. I kept with it, but it didn't keep my interest. It just wasn't the right book for me.
Cherie Dimaline's latest novel is, for the most part, a fun, witchy tale of female empowerment and found family. But I only liked "VenCo" part of the time. Other times I didn't.
The story most held my interest when Lucky and Stella were with the coven. I enjoyed the backstories of the witches, as well as the interactions between the women. But when they split up to allow Lucky to go on her quest, my attention waned, and it just didn't make sense that the coven would allow Lucky to take up the task alone. Had the women stuck together throughout the story, it would've been a much stronger novel.
It's clear from the way Dimaline wraps up the book that there is more to come from the witches, as their work is far from over. I haven't decided whether I'll be back for the next installment or not -- it'll all depend whether the continuing story piques my interest.
My sincerest appreciation to Cherie Dimaline, William Morrow, and NetGalley for the digital review copy. All thoughts and opinions herein are my own.
I wish I could say I enjoyed my time reading this book but I would be lying.
I LOVED The Marrow Thieves by this author and was so excited to read a queer fantasy about a coven of diverse witches, an indigenous MC, and an important quest that takes us through Salem and New Orleans. Unfortunately I found it to be a slog. So much was happening but at the same time nothing was happening?? I was overwhelmed at times but but also bored - which isn't a combo I find in books very often.
I finished the book thinking that the author kind of chose the wrong part of the story to publish. This entire storyline is about the coven of witches finding each other and becoming an official coven. I think this was important context for the author to have in order to understand the characters fully, but I think if Dimaline had written about adventures the witches took after they became a coven it would've been much more interesting.
I will not venture to say that this book was bad (it wasn't - the writing flowed fine, the dialogue felt natural for the most part, everything made sense by the end), but it just didn't capture my attention.
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review*
I've waited and waited to post this review because I reallyyyy wanted to like this eventually. I've finally decided that there is no hope for me and this book. The entire premise was so interesting to me. Witches operating in every day life plus a spontaneous road trip with a wacky grandma? Sounds like so much fun! But it was so so boring. The plot was lost underneath way too much writing and things that didn't matter. After sifting through all the information, I wasn't interested and was totally bored. By the time the plot picked up, the story had already lost me.... but i stuck with it. THEN the ending was so disappointing.
All in all, the bones were good but as is, I can't recommend.
There was so much potential here, but ultimately I think it tried to fit too much into a short page count so never felt more than surface level. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it wasn’t what I was in the mood for, so it was a bit of a letdown.
VenCo follows a coven of witches who need to find all of their members and unite in order to defeat the big bad patriarchy, in this case personified by Jay Christos. The main POV character is Lucky St. James, a Métis millennial down on her luck and trying to take care of her grandmother who seems to have dementia. I liked Lucky and Stella, and I really liked watching their relationship. I also appreciated hearing the backstories of the other coven members and how inclusive the coven was both in terms of race and trans femmes.
That being said, I am hit or miss on quest narratives in general and I think trying to incorporate all the stages of this quest and the backstories of every member of the coven made it hard to feel fully invested in any of the story. I wish Dimaline had fleshed out those elements and slowed the pace down, but I respect that that’s not the story she wanted to tell.
Overall, I thought this was a fun, witchy read that gives me the same vibes as Her Majesty's Royal Coven though I haven’t yet read that so I could be way off base.
An incredibly original concept and fascinating world-building; certainly a take on witches and witch hunters that feels fresh! While it takes a while to get its feet under it. VenCo is a wonderful novel that begs to be turned into a series.
I liked but didn't love this. I love the found family element and loved learning about the different witches. Honestly I wanted more time with the whole coven versus just with Lucky. I like Lucky, but I'm a character driven reader and really thrive on character interactions and there was so much time of Lucky & Stella on the road. The storytelling spends a lot of time building up the world and lots of descriptions of settings that I just wasn't that interested in. I wanted more coven interactions and found family goodness personally. But if you thrive on a quest or journey novel, this could totally be your thing. This felt slow to get going, but once we got going with the coven part I rather enjoyed this. I liked the overt feminist themes, it wasn't soft or particularly nuanced with it's theming, but sometimes it's fun having a more straightforward story. This does end in satisfying way though, it has the catharsis and wins you want/hope for. The ending of this also made it feel like the story could continue. Not in a' this story wasn't wrapped up' way, just in a 'this feels like a beginning of bigger story potentially' way. I think I would continue assuming it focuses on the whole coven not just Lucky. Lucky is easy to root for though, she is determined and resourceful and a bit snarky, and really loves and cares for her grandma Stella in a complicated way, which is sweet and relatable. This is a good book it just didn't 100% hit the mark for me personally, but I'd still recommend if it interests you.
While I was intrigued by the premise of this book, ultimately it wasn't for me. I tried to read it in print and listen on audio. I found the pace too slow and I didn't connect with any character. I lost interest at about 45% in and DNF'd.
I tried to read and finish this several times and in several formats, but I did not enjoy the story or pacing. I don't think the book is lacking, but I was not in the mood for the story.
By the end of this story, I realized this was a pre-lude to the real story. What happens when all the witches are together? Dunno. How is one witch so much older than the rest? No clue. What do we know about the rest of the coven beyond one paragraph of backstory? Nada. I hate it when authors release a book that's really just an intro to another book. And if that's not what this is, I'm beyond confused. This wasn't a full story. It was barely a quest! I finished it and the writing was decent, but where is the story???
**Thank you NetGalley and William Morrow for the eARC**
It had potential.
VenCo is about an organization of witches. The whole premise is based on the belief that if seven special witches get together, women will become more powerful.
Lucky St James is the sixth witch. She is living in Toronto with her grandmother who is suffering from cognitive changes when she is found by Venco. Lucky is in possession of a special spoon that has the letters Salem inscribed in it. As soon as Lucky touches the spoon, she feels differently. When VenCo comes knocking she accepts traveling from Canada to the USA to meet a possible employer. She brings her grandmother with her and when they arrive at their destination they meet five women who are living together. Here is where Lucky learns she is a witch and she has to find the last spoon and the witch who will complete their coven. But, things are not easy, an ancient being is on the prowl. His name is Jay Christos, and he wants all the witches to die. He is responsible for the death of many and he is on the hunt for the last seven.
The book had a very slow beginning, only the last third had some action. I wished we had seen more of their powers and their backstories than what we got. The ending felt a little rushed. Yet, overall I enjoyed the story.
A complimentary copy was provided by William Morrow via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
VenCo definitely started off slower than I had anticipated. I thought this was going to be an action-packed, thriller sort of read. There were definitely suspenseful moments, but they were definitely more toward the end of the book. And that's probably why it took me a while to get into this book.
While it did take me a while to get into this book, there are a lot of things to like about it. There is a good mix of diverse characters. It was fascinating to learn some history on the different cultures represented, which was weaved into the book. I also enjoyed the relationship between Stella (who I just loved throughout the entire book) and Lucky. I feel like it was a realistic look into caring for someone whose grasp on reality is not always firm.
This felt like a really original story, but one that was building up to a series. It does look like this was picked up to be a tv series (which, if done right, would be amazing) and she might be writing a sequel. Which I think would be more fast-paced than VenCo, but I'm not familiar with this author's writing style in her other books, so I could be wrong. Even so, I'll still be picking up the next book to see what happens to this coven of witches.
**Thanks to NetGalley for an free ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Loved this from start to finish. I hesitate to say it’s got an “American Gods” vibe but it does, and what’s more, nothing that bothered me about AG is in this book. Brilliant and I deeply hope there is more where this world came from.
VenCo by Cherie Dimaline was just as unputdownable as all of her previous books that I have loved and adored. I love how much Dimaline fits into her books and how atmospheric she manages to make each of her stories. This book, full of old magic and witchcraft with a more modern twist, drew me in immediately and wouldn't let me go. It seems to be the start to a series, and I can't wait to see what Dimaline gives us next.
Most of the book is from the POV of Lucky St. James, with some others woven in throughout the book which gave the story some more nuance and depth than a singular viewpoint might have offered. The pacing is slower but not in a bad way. I felt that we had a methodical build to the story that felt very intentional. Overall, I loved this one! The twist, the excellent worldbuilding, and the cast of characters were all so well-done and I can't wait to continue with whatever Cherie Dimaline comes out with next.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my ARC!
This book had a really neat and original concept. I had trouble keeping up with what was happening at some points but was able to enjoy the book once I got back on track.
Good witchy read with conspiracies and interwoven stories of past and present witches and of course with a hot immortal witch killer trying to end them all.
Thanks Netgalley for the ARC- my opinions are my own.
Lucky St. James discovers an enchanted spoon connecting her to a network of witches. VenCo is a blend of magical realism and fantasy wherein Lucky embarks on a road trip with her grandmother, pursued by an ancient witch hunter. This novel celebrates diversity and queer representation, empowering readers with its magic, resilience, and defiance against the patriarchy.