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Witches, Princes & Mothers, Oh My!

This is a short book review of the novel When Wishes Bleed. Don't worry or shield your eyes as I won't be including any spoilers in this post!

When Wishes Bleed by Casey L. Bond is a YA fantasy novel that centers a newly of-age witch who is an outcast in her own witchy society. Sable is a loner, stuck in a cabin out in the woods and not allowed in town or in the homes of the other witches. It's been this way since she was a toddler. And while she doesn't like it, she's used to it. She's the daughter of Fate after all and people don't really like it when you tell them that something bad is about to happen. One day, the Gallows (the sector which only witches are allowed to live) has a festival. Mostly it is a place where witches celebrate but also scam as much money from the citizens of other sectors as they can. And it's on this day that Sable's life changes forever.

Cover of "When Wishes Bleed" by Casey L. Bond

Soon she is thrown into a crown-princess selection pageant that will be broadcast live to the entire nation and while she is all for helping prevent the attempts on the crown prince's life, Sable feels odd. She's an outcast who was never allowed to leave the Gallows, thrust into the wealthiest, most posh place in the entire kingdom. And thanks to the attention the prince gives her, the other candidates all want her gone. Not so great. Oh, and add in the fact that the earth is dying and you have the backdrop for a very interesting story.

Stars: 4/5

One element that surprised me about this fantasy is that there are some really modern elements, like skinny jeans and a tv-equivalent. Plus the fact that Sable, our protagonist absolutely hates them is so on point. Bond gives us a scene when she first puts them on and has to hop around and eventually lies on the bed to do so and it was hilarious! I also loved the idea of their entire nation being shaped like a nautilus shell as it adds something new to the whole "society divided by sectors" trope that is commonly fond in various fantasy subgenres.

Slight spoiler, but not really: One thing that I have always hated in YA fiction is when the "outcast" character has to change herself to eventually be loved or respected. The author subverts this trope in the best way and it really made me consider reading more work by them.

Does this sound like a book you would read?

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