I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Witch Haven by Sasha Peyton Smith
Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 31, 2021
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Magical Realism
Source: the publisher
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The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.
In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.
Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.
Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?
This book had a lot of really interesting details. I loved the whole historical aspect of New York City. I also really enjoyed how the author kind of related different well-known things from that time period, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, as well even just how women were treated and sent to sanitoriums and asylums for things that men didn’t like. All of the mystery behind the magic and what was going on between all the different people who had magic was well done with this story. Even though there were certain people in the story that I always had a little inkling of doubt in my head as I read, that they couldn’t really be as good or as sincere as they seemed, the author was able to keep me guessing and twisting my opinion so it went back and forth. There was even a couple twist moments at the end that I didn’t see coming, and then when something happened that totally blew those parts out of the water, wow.
Now I feel like it would have been nice to have a little more time with one of the characters that turns out to be the good guy in the end. And honestly, there were times when maybe I felt it was a little long? But since it all wrapped up in the end and there was so much that fit into the bits and pieces to complete the story, that I ended up being okay with it. There was a note at the very end though, and there definitely needs to be a sequel, because there is one very big loose end left to be tied up. So hopefully there will be a book 2!