Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of Mark of the Wicked as part of the blog tour being run by TBR and Beyond. Today is day two of the tour, and you can find the list of other posts here.
Content Warnings: minor body horror, threat of harm to animals and animal death. Some animal death is real and some is imagined.
A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.
Magic always leaves its mark.
All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.
When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.
Rating: 3 stars
The first impression we get of Matilda is of someone who is quite cold and detatched from her actions, happy to act out for petty revenge despite the physical marks it leaves carved into her skin. This changes somewhat as the story progresses through her interactions with other characters, where thinking about things again makes her reconsider where she might have acted out too rashly, even in her own opinion.
It’s also through her interaction with other characters that we see other sides of Matilda; her vulnerability, her insecurity, her bitterness, especially regarding her father having left them several years ago. These are things she’s forced, again, to confront as the story progresses, and some degree of amends are made with her mother over their father leaving, and the reason for the concern that runs so deep from her mother around her actions.
The talk of the magic that Matilda is connected to is the most clearly thought out part of the story, both through close her family line, and also through her distant ancestor, Ivy, who is also connected to the town in dark historical way, but who Matilda grows more fond of in the story.
I did love the connection and closeness that Matilda had with her Nanny May, especially as upset to her proves to be a turning point for Matilda’s plans. She loves her so much, it’s clear through the pages that they are remarkably close, and that love probably keeps Matilda grounded more than she would have been otherwise.
About the Author
Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.
Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.
After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.