Title: Sweet & Bitter Magic
Author: Adrienne Tooley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Tropes: Sapphic, Witches, Enemies to Lovers, Forced Proximity
Edition/Pages: E-ARC, 400 Pages
Thank you much to Margaret K. McElderry Books and Netgalley for sending me an e-arc copy in exchange for an honest review.
This follows a witch, Tamsin, who is cursed with the inability to love and banished from the world of witches. For the last 5 years, she’s lived alone performing simple magic to human villagers in exchange for some of their love.
But when the world is once again plagued by dark magic, Tamsin begrudgingly teams up with an untrained magical source, Wren to try and track down the dark witch.
Overall I thought this was a really fun, easy standalone fantasy to get lost in. It had great themes, a unique world, and a lovely slow-burn sapphic romance.
This plot is very much an adventure plot. There is a lot of time spent traveling across the world while the characters run into hijinks along the way. While this isn’t my personal favorite fantasy plot, I thought it was done well was really fun to see this unique world. The world mashes together a lot of classic fantasy elements and I liked how they all worked together.
I thought the characters were well written but I didn’t think they were deeply fleshed out. Their characterization was more surface level than I personally would have liked, but this is a standalone fantasy so much of the focus was on the actual plot rather than character development. Something to be aware of if you’re a character driven reader.
But my favorite part of this was definitely the focus on love – specifically healthy love – and how relationships can turn toxic. It was a really interesting take and not something I’ve seen before. I loved how this explored not only romantic love, but self love and familial love as well, and delved into what healthy relationships look like.
Overall I thought this was a solid debut novel. This took a lot of classic fantasy elements and gave it a fresh, new spin. I’m very interested to see what Adrienne Tooley does next!