Book Review: Witches of Ash and Ruin

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer

Released: March 3, 2020

Although I had a rough time with it in the beginning, I'm glad I stuck around to finish this.

But first, a synopsis:

When witches of a small town in Ireland start showing up dead, all signs point to one notorious serial killer: The Butcher. Two covens must come together in order to find out who is behind these murders, and why he only targets witches. But, love, jealousy, friendship, family come into play and changes everything the witches thought they knew. When it's obvious the butcher is coming for them, it will take all of their power--light and dark--in order to take him down. Shifting through the POV of many of the witches, the killer himself, and a young man hot on the case, Witches of Ash and Ruin brings to life a mysterious world of witches and Irish lore and myth. I was really intrigued by the premise of this book, but I had a lot of difficulty getting into it at first. There were a lot of POVs, and in the beginning (with the lack of knowledge) it was a bit confusing. It wasn't until about 20% or more into the book that it really clicked for me and I couldn't put the story down. But, once I had my head in the right place, I really enjoyed the connections the author made to Celtic mythology, the bond the witches had, and the representations of so many important things from anxiety and OCD to queer relationships. I'm usually a fan of multiple POVs, however, I think this one could have done without a couple and it would have went a lot smoother for me. The first two chapters are what really put me off; starting out with the POV of the villain could have been really interesting, but disconnected me from the story and its true main characters: the witches. The next scene is a strange happening with a flock of very weird birds. Unfortunately, it just didn't seem to click with me, even after I got into the book. That being said, once it did click for me, I really enjoyed what the author had created! I loved the Irish lore and myths weaved into the plot and its characters. I think that's what made the story really strong as I kept reading. It made me really want to delve into the core of these myths. Irish lore and mythology isn't something that gets a lot of attention (the world is now experts on Greek mythology, I think), and I loved a look into something new. One thing I didn't like was the enemies-to-lovers trope (sorry Dayna and Meiner). It didn't really work for me, as I didn't really understand where their "hatred" stemmed from. It seemed a little forced and obvious to me what was going to happen, unfortunately. However, once their relationship was established, I liked reading their relationship and dynamic. I only wish the enemies-to-lovers part had been pulled off a little smoother. Another thing that could have used some work was the dialogue. At times, it felt unnatural and forced. Dialogue is usually the one thing I'm nit-picky about, and I thought it could have been stronger, especially with how intense the plot of the book is. Overall, I really enjoyed this modern-day Irish with story and definitely hope to read more set in this world!

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