SERIES: The Spellwork Syndicate #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA, Paranormal
Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad no one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.
Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.
The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.
If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.
Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?
I picked up Deadly Sweet because I saw it compared to the Hallmark series The Good Witch. From the one episode I’ve seen of that show, I definitely think that the comparison is apt. If you like The Good Witch or other feel-good type stories, you’re probably going to love this book.
The plot of Deadly Sweet is very easy to understand, but the feel of the story is slightly unusual. Yes, it’s a YA paranormal, but it’s a really lightweight, feel-good quiet fantasy novel. It’s far more about the characters and about the ambulance than it is about dramatic, action-packed plots. I think a good comparison would be that Deadly Sweet is to paranormal, what cosy mysteries are to crime fiction. A cosy paranormal? Is that a thing?
But I love this book.
I just wanted to live in the world. There is a little bit of danger, obviously, just to keep the plot ticking along but it’d absolutely be worth the danger of living there. And for me, the danger was almost incidental? I loved seeing how Anise settled into the bakery with her Aunt Agatha and got to know the Syndicate. I loved seeing the town and the college, and I loved seeing Anise struggle with being the new girl in town and struggling to make friends (and the friends are great too).
This is a totally addictive book: it’s got loads of baked good related descriptions that will make you really hungry and it’s a really fun escapist read.
I have to say that for the plot/ mystery side of it, I did see the villain coming right from the character’s introduction and I didn’t get any real sense of danger from that character. However, I think this might just be the author having to fine tune and tweak the balance of comfort and magic (in the sense of the magical and enchanting atmosphere) with the fact that you do need some kind of threat to give the story a purpose.
I was really shipping Anise and her bodyguard, Wynn — but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that if it does go that way… Because there’s a big issue of Wynn’s indentured servitude going on, and I’m not sure if there’s an age gap too. I’m also not sure if that’s the route the authors going to go down — it doesn’t feel as much a foregone conclusion as some relationships can be — but I’d need to see how things develop in the future books to know whether or not it’s something I’d enjoy.