Witches Steeped in Gold
by Smart, Ciannon






"Two enemy witches must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a tyrant who threatens both their worlds-with unpredictable results"-





Jazmyne is the Aiycan doyenne's daughter, next in line to the throne for Alumbrar rule-if she can muster up the confidence to actually take the throne. Iraya Adair, despite being the sole survivor of the former royal family and the widely fabled "lost empress," isn't as concerned with ruling as she is avenging the Adair clan. Both have an undying allegiance to Aiyca-their families' histories are an entangled cycle of false pretenses and betrayal. But any ruler knows to keep enemies close, spurring them to join forces in the name of Aiyca. Inspired by Jamaican culture, this title can feel slow to warm as readers are introduced to the characters and back stories setting the stage for the impending, relentless action. The alternating voices of Jazmyne and Iraya create a suspense that is both energizing and irritating, as their once seemingly disparate lives draw close enough to reveal key strategies from all parties vying for Aiyca. Readers wound up by the fast-approaching climax might be disappointed by the abrupt ending, but no need to worry; the cliff-hanger only ensures a sequel. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





A Jamaican-inspired fantasy about a matriarchy maintained by magic and marred by manipulation. Jazmyne Cariot is a 17-year-old witch of the Alumbrar order and next in line to rule as doyenne of her island of Aiyca, though she has yet to inherit her magical powers. Iraya Adair is an 18-year-old Obeah witch and the rightful heir to the Aiycan throne, newly free after 10 years of imprisonment. Historical tensions position these two witches as enemies, both possessing plans to remove the current doyenne. Despite their differing motivations and instant antagonism upon meeting, their end goal is the same; in order to achieve it, they decide to form an alliance. In a world where power is as much about birthright and natural talent as it is about clever strategy, deception, and betrayal, these two witches soon learn that there is much they have yet to learn about their society, their kin, and their own selves. Smart's storytelling is comprehensive, often to the point of being verbose, and the pace sometimes suffers as a result. The intriguing plot and themes combined with multidimensional characters will, however, appeal to attentive readers who enjoy intricate prose and can appreciate the thoughtfully planned magic system upon which the story centers. The cast of characters is described as being various shades of brown, some with Afro-textured hair. A richly realized tale for patient readers who enjoy complex language and worldbuilding. (Fantasy. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A Jamaican-inspired fantasy about a matriarchy maintained by magic and marred by manipulation. Jazmyne Cariot is a 17-year-old witch of the Alumbrar order and next in line to rule as doyenne of her island of Aiyca, though she has yet to inherit her magical powers. Iraya Adair is an 18-year-old Obeah witch and the rightful heir to the Aiycan throne, newly free after 10 years of imprisonment. Historical tensions position these two witches as enemies, both possessing plans to remove the current doyenne. Despite their differing motivations and instant antagonism upon meeting, their end goal is the same; in order to achieve it, they decide to form an alliance. In a world where power is as much about birthright and natural talent as it is about clever strategy, deception, and betrayal, these two witches soon learn that there is much they have yet to learn about their society, their kin, and their own selves. Smart's storytelling is comprehensive, often to the point of being verbose, and the pace sometimes suffers as a result. The intriguing plot and themes combined with multidimensional characters will, however, appeal to attentive readers who enjoy intricate prose and can appreciate the thoughtfully planned magic system upon which the story centers. The cast of characters is described as being various shades of brown, some with Afro-textured hair. A richly realized tale for patient readers who enjoy complex language and worldbuilding. (Fantasy. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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