Book Review: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Book: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Published May 2019 by Razorbill|336 Pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: These Witches Don’t Burn #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.

Isabel Sterling’s delightful, suspenseful debut is equal parts sweet romance and thrilling mystery. With everything she loves on the line, Hannah must confront this murderous villain before her coven–and any chance she has with the new girl–is destroyed.

I really liked These Witches Don’t Burn!  I wasn’t sure what to expect but I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would.

I really love this take on Salem and the witches that live there.  It’s definitely different, and I liked how current day Salem was tied to the Salem that we know from the Salem witch trials.  It really did tie together really well, and Sterling did a great job with connecting everything.

In a lot of ways, it’s a pretty typical story.  There are witch hunters, witches can’t tell mortals, and there’s a council overseeing everything.  I didn’t mind it, though, and it was pretty interesting to see the mystery unravel.  People are definitely not who I thought they were, and it was hard to know who to trust.  I was a little bit surprised by the revelations and now I kind of want to go back and re-read the book to see if I can pick up on anything.

The story did feel pretty realistic, and the weird things that are happening could be done by anyone.  I was surprised by some of the things in the book, but I felt like things were revealed pretty naturally.

I liked Hannah, though I didn’t love her.  I felt for her, though, and she had a lot going on, from the beginning of the book to the very end.  Especially at the end of the book.  I wasn’t a fan of Veronica and her love interest Savannah, and it seemed like Savannah had a lot of issues she needed to work out.

I get where Savannah’s coming from, and that she’s not ready to come out, but I also thought she was pretty horrible to Hannah for a good chunk of the book.  Veronica was pretty careless at times as well, and she was pretty terrible to Hannah at times.

Hannah was sweet, though, and you can tell she’s really earnest.  She wants to help and do good, and it shows.  It makes her really endearing, and I’m curious to see how the events of this book will change her.  If it does, but I don’t see her staying the same person she was in this book.

4 stars.  I really liked These Witches Don’t Burn.  It was fun and intriguing, and I am looking forward to reading the next book.

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