Author: Ami McKay
“When seventeen-year-old Beatrice leaves the safety of her village to answer an ad that reads “Respectable Lady Seeks Dependable Shop Girl. Those averse to magic need not apply,” she has little inclination of what the job will demand of her. Beatrice doesn’t know it yet, but she is no ordinary small-town girl; she has great spiritual gifts—ones that will serve as her greatest asset and also place her in grave danger. Under the tutelage of Adelaide and Eleanor, Beatrice comes to harness many of her powers, but not even they can prepare her for the evils lurking in the darkest corners of the city or the courage it will take to face them.”
The Witches of New York started out as a 5-star book. However, as I read further and further things about the book bothered me so much that in the end, 3-stars was the best I could give it.
The story was cool. A young witch (but doesn’t know it) decides to start her future in NYC during the 19th century. She takes a job with a one-eyed fortune teller and a real life witch at a tea shop before all the evil rolls in and starts fucking things up. There were lesbians, one-armed doctors, and a pet crow!
But the story was too long. My edition of the book was 590 pages. The climax of the book didn’t come about until page 400-something. Which means the build up was 300 pages, and the conclusion was maybe 100. I don’t mind a long build up but there really wasn’t any tension in the book at all. The plot was the literary equivalent of taking two aspirins than doing heroin for the first time and then going to rehab and living a happy life. It didn’t work. I also didn’t like how long the book spent on establishing scenery without moving the plot along. World building is great, but it has to build in motion.
Speaking of motion, whenever the book did have some sort of flow, it was interrupted by the story shifting. It would shift from Beatrice to the priest, and then to the demon. It was like you would get comfortable and settled into reading about tea leaves and tarot cards and then the priest and his nonsense would pop up to remind you that something was going to happen. There had have been a better way to structure the plot because that wasn’t it.
The characters were all very okay. Adelaide was kind of douche to Beatrice until she technically got her kidnapped by the evil priest. Their pet crow Perdu was fun and all the ghost and ghouls were great additions. But they couldn’t save the book’s pacing or structure.
I’m neutral about recommending this book. I’ve read it, but I didn’t enjoy it enough to suggest other people read it. But it wasn’t so bad that I would steer people away. Draw your own conclusions about this one, it’s up in the air for me