Friday, 13 April 2018

BOOK REVIEW | 'How to Hang a Witch' by Adriana Mather (****)

Hey guys, and happy Friday! It is very fitting that today is Friday 13th, as today I am going to be reviewing a spectacularly creepy book, filled with witches and mystery and ghosts...

That's right, today I am going to be reviewing How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. How to Hang a Witch is a brilliantly chilling read, following Sam Mather as she moves from New York to the infamous Salem, home of the Witch Trials and the absolute havoc that defined and followed them. Sam has family links, so she knows a bit about what happened... but she also thinks that it is all in the past. But soon enough strange occurrences and unexplained happenings suggest otherwise, and Sam finds herself in a situation that, before moving to Salem, she never would have believed possible to happen.

I was kindly sent a copy of How to Hang a Witch by Walker Books in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I knew that it was something I had to read. I have read YA books about witches before, but none had dealt with the history behind witch allegations. I didn't know too much about Salem before reading this, but upon reading I was immediately transported to this dark and secretive town, still weighed down by the darkness of its past. There must have been a huge amount of research that went into this book, but the facts felt nothing like an info-dump. Mather is an incredibly atmospheric writer and managed to make the novel wonderfully contemporary, but with the charm and dark atmosphere of the past.

I liked Sam as a character, but at times I wished she'd be a little more sure of herself. At the beginning of the novel, she appeared heartbroken for her hospitalised father and horrified by the prospect of coming to a new town, a new school, with no friends. However, the love triangle that emerges halfway through the book kinda removes Sam's pluck and determination, and I thought this was a bit of a shame. In fact, I think the book would have worked just as well without the romance, to be honest. There was enough with the witch element and the mean-girl narrative to make the story interesting without token YA boy drama

As soon as I reached the last fifty pages I honestly couldn't stop reading. I absolutely loved the ending and the continuous plot twists. I was hooked and I thought the characterisation really came out in this last part. I think the fantasy/supernatural elements were done brilliantly and I was thoroughly creeped out by the end of the novel.

If you need a harrowing read this Friday 13th, make sure you check out How to Hang a Witch! But be careful with going out to the woods at night...

Check out Adriana Mather here:

Until next time :)

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