Witches Steeped in Gold | Ciannon Smart


Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart 

HarperTeen; Releases April 20, 2021; 544 pages 

Content Warning: fantasy violence, mind control, death, murder, blood, oppression, imprisonment

Author Bio: “Of Jamaican heritage, Ciannon Smart grew up in a small town in the south-east of England. As the only daughter in a house full of boisterous sons, she developed a voracious appetite for reading from an early age, preferring anarchy in stories rather than real life. In YA she loves her heroines exactly as she loves her villains: wilful, wily, and unpredictable. When not writing, Ciannon can be found reading, painting, or taking the long way home to listen to a good song more than once.” (Bio taken from the author’s website) 

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“Nana would say that unlike storms, trouble doesn’t give signs like rain, so we must always be ready for it.” 

Daughter of the Queen and next in line to rule as doyenne of the island of Aiyca, 17-year-old Jazmyne Cariot is a witch of the Alumbrar order—and unlike her sister, she refuses to die in order to strengthen her mother’s power. After spending ten years in a cell, 18-year-old Obeah witch Iraya Adair is the newly freed and rightful heir to the Aiycan throne, seeking vengeance on those responsible for her downfall. Despite having every reason to hate one another, these two enemy witches join forces to defeat a common foe—and they might just succeed, if they don’t betray each other first.

Ciannon Smart’s Jamaican-inspired YA fantasy is a powerful, deliciously complex debut. As an avid fan of antagonistic character dynamics, I loved witnessing the precarious alliance between Jazmyne and Iraya develop over time. Smart deftly explores the differing perspectives between their two factions, and how notions of morality can change depending on who is telling the story. Both heroines walk the line between hero and villain in a way that will capture readers from the very start. Moreover, the worldbuilding is intricate and lush, featuring a matriarchal social order with an intriguing magic system and cutthroat politics; I was especially entranced by the history of Aiyca as an island nation. All in all, Witches Steeped in Gold is perfect for fans of high-octane fantasy, thrilling twists, and complicated characters. 

Witches Steeped in Gold releases April 20, 2021. 

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.) 

PRR Assistant Director, Hannah Miller