“Book Review: Journey to New Salem”
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
You are not going to see this one coming.
I went into this novel hoping for witches. I didn’t expect to be feeling empty after I finished it. But turns out, this fantasy adventure is a captivating surprise just waiting to be opened.
Isis Rivera is a teen witch adopted by a Wiccan couple named Sebastian and Selena. Along with Isis’s boyfriend Zack, they perform sold-out magic shows in Las Vegas. But life takes a strange turn when Isis starts suffering seizures. These aren’t your typical seizures either. They cause destruction to those around her.
To avoid harming innocent citizens, Isis and her family travel to New Salem, a centuries-old witches’ haven hidden from the public eye. Isis must decide if she should let an old enemy restore her to her usual self or to let her earth-shattering seizures end her own life.
Fans of witchy media such as Charmed and Kami Garcia’s Beautiful Creatures will have a great time with Journey to New Salem. The book is fun, exciting, funny, original, and filled with likable characters. Zack Galloway, for example, is an ordinary human magician, but his ability to go above & beyond to protect those he loves the most makes him just the guy we want to have around.
And then there’s Valeria, the strong villain of the series. She and Isis have battled before, back when she wanted to force Isis into a vampire apprentice. Valeria is no small fry villain. Her otherworldly, dark abilities are frightening. She doesn’t care who she cuts down to achieve her malicious goals. She is unpredictable, violent, and downright chaotic. Rosendorf has developed quite a villain here, one you are going to love to hate.
There’s also a really strong theme being shared here between Isis and Valeria regarding their opposing beliefs on humanity. Although witches are looked down upon and mis-treated in this world, Isis believes witches can live peacefully with humans. But Valeria believes that humans should bow down to witches or be exterminated. These clashing minds remind me of the view on mutants and humans in Marvel’s X-Men world, and I’m here for all of it.
This YA witch adventure belongs in the ranks of Rachel Hawkins’ Hex Hall and Cate Tiernan’s Sweep series. It’s a slow start in the beginning, but things really pick up when Isis and her family step into this new world. Teens deserve all the hope, magic, and adventure they’ll get in this book.
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Witches
Print Length: 294 pages
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