Book Review: The Witches Lottery by Krystal McLaughlin

17427104Title: The Witches Lottery
Author: Krystal McLaughlin
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

When Sophia and Drew McKibben’s parents are killed in a tragic car accident, they are shipped off to live with an aunt they never even knew existed. Believing that they are moving to a privately owned island just off of the coast of Mystic, CT to live alone with her, they are surprised to find a sort of under-aged bed and breakfast.

Sophia draws the attention of one of the locals, Falen, immediately. He always seems to know exactly what she is thinking, and to her frustration, everything she does seems to amuse him. When a newcomer to the island brings with him a sense of deja vu, she begins to ask herself the ultimate question: Am I going crazy?

Sophia’s world starts to unravel when she notices her own brother acting just as abnormal as the rest of them. When she begins to realize that the life she left behind looks even more bizarre then the one she was forced to leave it for, she’s faced with a decision to make: embrace the new life that has been given to her, or drown in the past. Either choice brings with it more secrets and deceptions to unearth. The problem now is that the two worlds may actually be more intertwined than she thought.

The Witches Lottery starts of with the main character, Sophia, who is having a terrible nightmare about her parent’s accident, and who tells the reader about how people look at her and her brother now their parents are dead. I thought this first chapter was really touching, and it immediately made me feel sympathetic towards Sophia and her brother Drew. Then the two siblings are shipped off to live with their aunt Celeste, who they have never seen before in their life. Like things couldn’t get any worse, Sophia starts having strange visions and headaches. On top of all that, it isn’t their aunt who picks them up from the airport, but a stranger who introduces himself as Falen and claims to live on the island with their aunt. Although he and Sophie don’t get along too well at first (he finds everything she does amusing, which obviously annoys her), there is some obvious attraction between them. But the island aunt Celeste lives on isn’t just any normal island, and it hides an ancient and dangerous secret. It’s up to Sophia to find out what exactly that secret is – before it’s too late.

Being a debut novel, The Witches Lottery really appeared to me as striking, original and well-written. The characters are balanced, with interesting and rich personalities, and the storyline is fast-paced, with a few unexpected twists here and there that kept me on the edge of my seat while reading. This is really a novel that demands to be read during one single reading session – it’s just too exciting to suddenly stop halfway, and even when I tried, it was like it kept calling me to get back to my computer and continue reading. It’s a nice bonus when a novel does that; when it makes you feel for the characters and the storyline so much that you just need to know what happens to them next.

My favorite character by far was Sophia. I couldn’t help but like her: she’s determined, intelligent, independent, strong – but with a touch of insecurity and weakness that makes her all the more human. I would have liked to learn more about the other cast members: Falen, Mitch, Daphne and especially Gianna. My guess is that the other novels in the series will focus on the other characters, however I would have liked to learn a bit more about them already. I couldn’t help but feel like there’s a lot more to Gianna than meets the eye, and considering her late arrival in the novel, it made me very curious to know more about her. The only character I wasn’t completely fond of was Celeste: her personality seemed a bit flat, and I feel as though she should have played a larger role throughout the novel.

Personally, when I read fantasy novels, witches aren’t exactly my favorite subject. I like witches sure enough, but I prefer vampires, demons, angels, etc. However, The Witches Lottery made me decide to give witches-related fiction another chance, which shows how good this novel really is. If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing read, but one that will also keep you glued to your chair eagerly anticipating whatever is going to happen next, then The Witches Lottery is an excellent choice.

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