Non Spoiler Review of The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton [CC]

Hi everybody, it is Julie Welcome back to Pages and Pens! Today I am here with a book review

I know it's been a while since I've had a book review isn't it? Today I am here to talk about The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton For those of you that do not know, Leslye Walton also wrote The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, which is one of my favorite books that features magical realism This is about a girl born with wings and it follows her through different generations of her family focusing on the women of her family and their bad luck with love I really really loved the writing in this This was I believe Leslie Waltons debut novel and she now has come out with her second book, The Price Fuide to the Occult

This one was gifted to me- this was sent to me by Candlewick Press I had actually asked for this ARC and they sent it to me very kindly, and I believe this is a finished copy So this is a hardback book and it is soft feel and the black parts of it are raised and then the other parts kind of are sunken in a little bit, but still very soft feel Gorgeous gorgeous book aesthetically The pages are red, it kind of fits with the ferns on the front that have some red and blood kind of on them

So the premise of this is Nor who lives in the Pacific Northwest on an island A very vibrant island setting and you definitely do get the feel for it and Nor is the child in a long line of Blackthorn witches and each witch starting with the matriarch The island they live on had eight original families plus Rona and they eventually realized that she was the witch they burned her for being a witch- or they try to burn out her house She escapes, each subsequent generation has lesser powers or curses or burdens and each girl that follows them thereafter is gifted with a different power And there's also like a theme although not all of them are like the original witch is seen as being like a giantess, she's seen as being very large

And even in this one I believe Nor's grandmother is classified as a giantess They're also of Greek descent So you have a girl in this who's of Greek descent and a witch and I am about that You guys know that I'm part Greek and so I was really really interested in this Plus it's Leslie Waltons writing and I wanted to love it so so bad

A book shows up on the island and this book is The Price Guide to the Occult In it there are spells that you can send away for, so you send away for what spell you want along with your money and then that spell is done for you The islands plant life and animal life start acting really strangely, these people start sprouting these fern tattoos, things kind of go bad And it's dark and there's a storm coming for Nor You know something is coming for her you don't know what it is and there's a lot of buildup

Although it's pretty clear early on exactly what is coming for Nor Essentially I really really wanted this writing to be really beautiful and it wasn't The pacing for me was very very off The pacing was very slow the build-up to the climax, took the majority of the book the climax was all five pages at the end of the book and really didn't come to fruition the way that it should have I mean obviously with a whole book of build-up and then five pages of the actual like battle and climax, things were rushed and it felt really really weird and it lacked the whimsy and the beauty of this writing and the connection to the character that this writing had

This one you don't connect with Nor She does have a love interest and you really don't ever get the feel for that either You don't really ever start to ship it because it's so surface level She has a very very interesting friend, Savvy, Savannah, who changes all of her hair color all the time I believe she is African American

Really don't get very invested in their friendship and unlike The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender where you really get invested in the generational story that's being told, the generational story and this one is a lot harder to follow and a lot harder to connect with You have the matriarch back in the day and then you have her grandmother that you see and there's diversity there There's a lot of lesbian relationships in this book I don't think there was any male male relationships but, oh yes there was! So there's some diversity in relationships in this book as well Nor's mother, Fern is pretty much absent from the story she's not a nice person

She was very very harmful and toxic And essentially each one of these witches has a certain calling or a certain power and Nor's is being able to hear and understand plants and animals And her mother's is something completely different She's very charisma and captivating and she can basically make people do what she wants them to do Starting with Rona the original Blackthorn witch there is a curse, kind of on their love life

They basically have this passionate love affair for three days and then that's it and that's kind of all they get they get Those three days of love that usually results in a child hence the continuation of their generations and then that the guy is gone He kind of either wakes up or realizes he never wanted to be with him in the first place Fern, Nor's mother does not take kindly to that She wants this man back and she realizes that in order to do that she needs a stronger kind of magic and she turns to black magic, which is blood magic

And everything has its price She's not happy with just the power that was gifted to her through her generational witch hereditary passing down, she wants more than that So she starts going into dark magic until she realizes that her blood alone is probably not strong enough and she goes after her own daughter in order to strengthen her magic And that's where this kind of takes a turn for me that I can't get behind From the very very start of this book I'm talking like page 1 or 2 — we have like a preface and then literally chapter 1 the very first page of chapter 1

So we're into the current story I already have comments that on that page Immediately there's references to self harm Nor the main character of this book has scars that cover her body and she talks about these scars as if they're living breathing things They signal warnings etc and the scars become something that she wants to hide but then she also kind of secretly covets

And some of them are not self-inflicted but the majority of them are And this book focuses very heavily throughout the entire book on self-harm and cutting and the emotional release and the physical endorphin release of cutting I don't have any triggers when it comes to cutting I don't have any triggers when it comes to self-harm, but even for me this was a lot a lot to read Because it's not a subplot

It's not something that happened in the past that isn't happening anymore It's very present and it's very much a large part of the plot Throughout this whole battle that's coming she can't really arm herself because most of the things that she would use to arm herself she wants to use to hurt herself There is a lot of bloodshed in this book and a lot of kind of gory parts of this book and a lot of that that she witnesses reminds her of the blood she spilled by her own hand etc Do NOT recommend this book for anybody who is not in the right mental state to read this

I don't know if it would be beneficial to see yourself in a main character who overcomes her cutting, kind of sort of maybe eventually In the end there's a hint that she might have, but it's not a survivor story in that sense It's very prevalent through the whole thing so if that's something that you can't handle or being reminded of what it feels like to cut and why you cut and and your obsession with cutting- this is not for you So that was really really troubling for me There is a section in the back of the book in the acknowledgments where she thanks people for sharing their stories

There are also multiple pages that are exclusively at the end of the book for where to go for help if you want to harm, or if you know somebody that you think is harming themselves There's a whole bunch of references of where you should go if you're considering self harm That said that's all at the back of the book There's no warning at the beginning of the book that this is gonna center around self harm and there's nothing in the synopsis that says it's gonna center around self harm It's very clear, like I said, from page one of the beginning of the book that there's going to be self harm in this book but I don't think that you should have to wait that long to figure it out

I'm just gonna read you the first page because I think it's important So if you have triggers for self-harm I don't want you to read this, I don't want you to have to hear this, so I will put a timestamp in the bottom when you can start listening again[TIMESTAMP 9:38] Nor Blackburn wasn't afraid of blood There were several things she was afraid of, but blood wasn't one of them This was fortunate because when she picked up the shards of glass, from the cups she had dropped, she cut her finger and it bled

It bled a lot, For a moment too long Nor looked at her finger and watched the blood well up and trickle into the sink It reminded her of how in the past she had sometimes been "careless" with knives when loading the dishwasher or chopping vegetables for dinner It was a way to cause pain without appearing to do so deliberately It was a way to disguise spilled blood as accidental That's the first page

Pretty indicative of the way the rest of the book kind of goes Things like that don't stop I think that it's really important for people to note that if you have self-harm or cutting triggers that this is not going to be the book for you And then sadly unfortunately even after that, with that being a non-issue, I just don't think it was well done I don't think it was well fleshed out

I didn't feel a connection to the generations, I didn't feel a connection to the main character, it didn't have any of the life that this book had Really lacked in the plot development of the conflict, in the execution of the resolution, and the final battle It's a gorgeous book I'm gonna keep it, I did annotate it, I think it's gorgeous I want it on my shelf because it's beautiful but it's not one that I recommend

Honestly, I ended up giving it two stars and it was just it was nowhere near as amazing as The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and I was really really hoping it would be So unfortunately, I think that it comes without the trigger warnings that it needs at the beginning of the book and I think it just suffers from having very under underdeveloped characters and an underdeveloped plot Not my favorite by Leslye Walton which really really bums me out I'm probably gonna be a lot more cautious about going forward with her books if this is kind of the direction that she wants her writing to go in The Stranger Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is dark and there are trigger warnings for this book, but they're very specific solitary cases, it's not a prevalent theme throughout the entire book, where The Price Guide it really was

I want you guys to be warned because this does come out on March 13th I know a lot of people saw this in a haul of mine, they also saw it in my TBR and they thought it was beautiful and they were interested in it and it has a very gripping title and a very gripping premise but at the end of the day I really don't recommend it I wanted to put this up as soon as possible so that you guys would know my thoughts before potentially buying it I just didn't want anybody to go out and buy it and be triggered by anything because you saw it here from me and then I didn't speak about it after that again So I've been very vocal on Instagram and Twitter about my thoughts on this but if you don't follow me there then you have this here now

So that has been my review for The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton Unfortunately, a very very lackluster follow up to The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender for me But that's been this book review I hope you guys have enjoyed it If you did be sure to give me a big thumbs up and click subscribe and I will see all of you in my next video

Bye, guys

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