Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
About the Book:
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.
Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.
Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.
When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.
Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first.
Everything about this book appealed to me from the beginning! The cover is stunning, and the story itself is absolutely gay 🙂 Sweet and Bitter Magic follows two girls working together to try and stop the plague ravishing their lands. Tasmin is a witch cursed with the inability to love, forcing her to steal love from others in the form of deals. Wren is a source, someone who holds strong magic without being able to use it herself, so when her father falls sick with the plague, the two strike a deal.
I loved the concept of a witch cursed to never love. It made Tasmin such an interesting character to read. I was so fascinated with how she interacted with the world and other people, and how she was unable to see the beauty in anything. The slow shift in her world view the more time she spent with Wren was cute to watch. And Wren’s character was also great! She was strong and resilient, but she also made mistakes. She’s a bit naive, but I found that to be charming paralleled with Tasmin’s pessimism. Their bickering made me laugh, and their romance made me swoon.
My only complaint was that the world building was a bit confusing, and the pacing felt a bit rushed at the end. The beginning and middle move at a slower pace, and the struggle is much more internal for the characters. Towards the end, it seems like everything pertaining to the plot is dumped onto the reader, and it feels really fast paced compared to the rest of the story. The plot twist/villain reveal was pretty predictable, but that didn’t bother me so much.
Overall, this was such a fun book, and I will definitely be picking up anything Adrienne Tooley writes in the future!
Thanks so much for reading!