Title: Witches Steeped in Gold
Series: Witches Steeped in Gold #1
Author: Ciannon Smart
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: April 20th 2021
Pages: 544

Synopsis (Goodreads): Trust no witch . . . 

Iraya Adair has spent her life in a cell. Heir of an overthrown and magically-gifted dynasty, she was exiled from her home on the island nation of Aiyca when she was just a child. But every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance.

Jazmyne Cariot grew up dressed in gold, with stolen magic at her fingertips. Daughter of the self-crowned doyenne, her existence is a threat to her mother's rule. But unlike her sister, Jazmyne has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother's power.

Sworn enemies, the two witches enter a deadly alliance to take down the woman who threatens both their worlds. But revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths Iraya and Jazmyne will go to win this game.

Two witches. One motive. And a very untrustworthy alliance.


My rating: DNF / 5 ★

Witches Steeped in Gold is a Jamaican inspired fantasy of two young witches, enemies whom are forced to combine their powers to bring back order into their world. It is a story about vengeance, betrayal and distrust. With such a promising and intriguing description, I was almost sure that I would fall madly in love with this book—I have been dying to read more witchy-reads!

Alas, my high expectations fell flat because not only I find myself struggling to read through the story, I also find myself unable to empathise with any of the characters. It pains me to say this, but despite the high ratings for this debut book, I decided to DNF this book. I reached halfway through the book, and I do not wish to force myself to finish it any longer.

I think I may have a problem with the writing style of this author. No hate towards the author, but I felt like the way Smart writes was as if she was trying to be... smart with me. Oh. Well, I was not trying to make a pun or poke fun at the author, but the sentences were worded rather complicatedly that most of the time, I had to repeat the paragraphs over and over. The first 100 pages were exhausting, I really struggled to get through it, and ended simply skimming through the pages. I wish the author could have been more straightforward with her words, but this is probably just my personal opinion.

As for the two main characters, Iraya and Jazmyne, I did not like them enough to want to finish reading the book. The story was told in first person point-of-view of both Iraya and Jazmyne, their chapters alternating. But sometimes I was confused as to who was narrating the chapter, it was difficult to differentiate their voices, making the reading process more frustrating. Iraya seems to be all about vengeance, and although I understand that she certainly should have trust issues, I hated how bitterly she treated most of the people around her. There wasn't much I can say about Jazmyne, since her character barely contributed anything to the plot. She kept questioning herself and literally had no actions at all.

The story was described to be "two sworn enemies becoming allies to take down the woman threatening their worlds", but even halfway through, they barely met each other. Jazmyne may have hatched some plans to use Iraya on her fight, but thanks to her constantly putting herself down, she barely could make anyone trust her words. And that was it. From what I gathered from other people's reviews, it seemed that the two witches only formed alliance almost at the end of the book, before it ended in a quite terrible cliffhanger. I don't think I have enough interest in me to find that out myself.

Witches Steeped in Gold has been a promising debut book initially, but sadly I just could not find myself to like it that much. If you're a beginner reader, I wouldn't recommend reading this as the writing style can be confusing, even to me who has read a lot of fantasy books. But if you enjoy reading fantasy and love stories about independent witches and warriors, then there is no harm for you to try reading this book!

Many thanks to Pansing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Witches Steeped in Gold is now available in all good bookstores!


Death isn't the answer, it's the problem here.

"If we assassinate her," I ask, challenging them now, "how are we any better? How will this island be less bloody after her than it was before her, when she earned her seat killing the last ruler too?"

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'