Title: The Price Guide to the Occult
Author: Leslye Walton
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Leslye Walton won my heart with her gorgeous and heartfelt debut, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, and when I found out that she was going to be writing another novel, I was so excited. Even more so when I found the book, a bright, colorful little thing, sitting on my library’s shelf, I just knew I had to take it home with me. I was in danger of slipping into a book slump after The Heart Forger, and I decided to give The Price Guide a chance. Honestly, I think it was better than Ava Lavender, and I’ll never forget it. Dark, beautiful, and more than a little terrifying, I was absolutely captivated. One of the best books of 2018 for this girl.
Nor Blackburn is the last descendant of the powerful, magical Blackburn clan, made up of women gifted with different ‘Burdens’, magical gifts that they are blessed with from their original ancestor, Rona Blackburn. A newcomer to the island, she got pregnant by one of the town’s original sons. But when he abandoned her and wished for her death, she turned on the town, cursing her own line in doing so. Nor is almost as powerful as her great-grandmother, but her most prominent gift is the ability to hear, speak to, and understand animals. When the island is barraged with storms and the animals begin to flee for fear of something dangerous and dark, Nor realizes that the events may be closer to her than she could’ve ever realized. When her wicked mother, Fern, returns to the island to carry out vicious revenge, Nor must dig deep inside of herself to find the courage to face her fears, or risk losing everything she loves…
This book was really a darkly pleasant surprise. I adored Ava Lavender, but this book was much darker and creepy in tone. The prose was lovely, beautiful and hypnotic, per Walton’s signature. The pacing was breakneck; I was absolutely captivated by the tragic tale of the Blackburn women, but most of all, Nor. I really liked her as a character, and her development was really exciting. The small island town where she lived was somehow both creepy and charming all at once, and I liked the way the small-town mentality played into the scary parts of the novel. I also really liked Nor’s hardy, weird family, warm and full of love, unusual though they were. And Nor’s romance with one of the boys in town really played well against the horror throughout. I think my favorite part, though, aside from Nor and her character development, was Fern, Nor’s terrifying and powerful mother, sadistic and full of hatred toward all. And that ending—it was killer! Oh my gosh. I loved the way it ended, and I really, really hope that there’s a sequel in the works! The bottom line: A beautiful, gorgeous horror story, The Price Guide to the Occult is a great sophomore novel, and I can only hope that there will be more to come—beautiful, dark, and more than a little creepy! Next on deck: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles!