Sunday, June 19, 2022

Arc Review: Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

Spells for Forgetting
Author: Adrienne Young
Series: N/A
Genre: Magical/Mystery Thriller/Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Edition: Kindle
Source: NetGalley
Pre-Order: Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | BAM | Book Depository | Bookshop | Powell's | Thriftbooks
   A rural island community steeped in the mystical superstitions of its founders and haunted by an unsolved murder is upended by the return of the suspected killer in this deeply atmospheric novel.
   Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among the community that fractured her world in two. She’d once longed to run away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saiorse Island and chase new dreams; now, she maintains her late mother’s tea shop and cares for her ailing father. But just as the island, rooted in folklore and tradition, begins to show signs of strange happenings, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that no one wants to remember.
   August Salt knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night that changed everything. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from the past that has never healed—Emery. But the town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises that span generations threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.

I'm bummed that I didn't enjoy this book as much as I would have liked to. I was excited to read her first Adult-Mystery/Thriller-Magical book since I loved Sky in the Deep and the spin-off. I was looking forward to a book that goes in a very different direction than her other books. But there were just a few things that left me wanting with this book.
The magic doesn't play an active role in the story the way I had hoped/wanted it to, and that might work for some people, but I was just hoping for a more dark magical book than what I was hoping for. But it was more the characters that let me down the most.

Young's characters are one of my favorite things about her writing. But these characters, the main characters, in particular, I did not believe they were in their 30's. Not for one second. Some flashbacks revealed their ages, as I don't recall if it was outright ever mentioned. When I started this book, I had assumed that August and his mother left the island when he was like 14 or something, but with those flashbacks, he was 18 or nearly 18 and the main story takes place 14 years later... the way that August, Emery, and Dutch behave, I would never guess they were 32/33, they act like they're in their early 20s at best. This might be because she went from writing YA to writing Adult, but who's to say.
 The mystery at the heart of this book was really good, and I enjoyed discovering things along with them. But the pacing was a little off at times, and I liked some of the flashbacks a little more than the events happening in the "present" day. I do think there are parts of this book, the characters, in particular, that would have benefited this book taking place with a shorter time gap from when he left the island.

I just wanted the magic to have more of a presence than it did. It was almost, almost, a MacGuffin. I still love her writing and will check out what she writes next.

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