The Witch Haven and The Witch Hunt by Sasha Peyton Smith #bookreview #fantasy #YA #paranormal #historical

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Title: The Witch Haven

Author: Sasha Peyton Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Page Count:  447

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this “spectacular, singular, and spellbinding” (Casey McQuiston, New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue) historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

Find this book online:

Goodreads  /  Amazon

Title: The Witch Hunt

Author: Sasha Peyton Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 11, 2022

Page Count: 349

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

The lush and pulse-pounding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Witch Haven follows Frances and her fellow witches to the streets of Paris where family secrets, lost loves, and dangerous magic await.

Months after the devastating battle between the Sons of St. Druon and the witches of Haxahaven, Frances has built a quiet, safe life for herself, teaching young witches and tending the garden within the walls of Haxahaven Academy. But one thing nags; her magic has begun to act strangely. When an opportunity to visit Paris arises, Frances jumps at the chance to go, longing for adventure and seeking answers about her own power.

Once she and her classmates Maxine and Lena reach the vibrant streets of France, Frances learns that the spell she used to speak to her dead brother has had terrible consequences—the veil between the living and the dead has been torn by her recklessness, and a group of magicians are using the rift for their own gain at a horrifying cost.

To right this wrong, and save lives and her own magical powers, Frances must hunt down answers in the parlors of Parisian secret societies, the halls of the Louvre, and the tunnels of the catacombs. Her only choice is to team up with the person she swore she’d never trust again, risking further betrayal and her own life in the process.

Find this book online:

Goodreads  /  Amazon

The Witch Haven and The Witch Hunt by Sasha Peyton Smith are the first and second books in the young adult fantasy The Witch Haven series. As with most fantasy series the story in The Witch Haven series begins in the first book and picks up in the second so they do need to be read in order to be completely understood.

The story in The Witch Haven begins in 1911 in New York City where young Frances Hallowell is staying after the loss of her family. Frances is working as a seamstress with other young girls when one night she finds herself alone in the shop trying to finish up after the other girls have gone.

That night forever changes Frances’ life when her boss attacks her and ends up dead with Frances’s scissors protruding from his body. Luckily for Frances she finds herself heading to Haxahaven Sanitarium with two nurses instead of prison. Frances soon finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all but a school for witches.

When beginning The Witch Haven series I immediately found myself transported to the dingy, dark side of New York in 1911 and fell right into the story. The first book wasn’t without a few flaws in my opinion but it did hold my attention and make me want to come back for The Witch Hunt, the second of the series. Picking up The Witch Hunt however wasn’t the same engaging beginning as I found in the first book. The pacing seemed to be even slower than what I’d found in the first and I only found it to be so-so for me.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

About the author:

Sasha Peyton Smith grew up in the mountains of Utah surrounded by siblings, books, and one very old cat. She attended the University of Utah and the George Washington University where she studied biology and public health. She is not a witch, though she does own a lot of crystals and always knows what phase the moon is in. She lives in Washington D.C. with her partner and collection of porcelain hands. The Witch Haven, an instant New York Times best seller, is her debut novel. The Witch Hunt, the sequel to The Witch Haven, publishes October 11th, 2022

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