Hello everyone and welcome to my blog tour stop for Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers hosted through Xpresso Tours. For my stop today I am thrilled to share a spoiler free review.
You can find the full tour schedule here.
About the BookMark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers
Published by Swoon Reads Pages: 352
A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers' creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.
Magic always leaves its mark.
All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.
When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic - and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn't responsible -- at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth...before anyone else turns up dead.
About The Author
Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.
Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.
After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.
TW: harm to animals, death to animals both on and off the page, vivid descriptions of gore.
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free digital galley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and do not reflect that of the publisher or author.
Mark of the Wicked is an incredibly dark, gristly contemporary fantasy that dances precariously on the line between fantasy and horror. Mark of the Wicked is relentless in it’s eerie atmosphere and violent scenes. Best described as Practical Magic by way of Stephen King, I could not stop turning the pages of Bower’s phenomenal debut.
Matilda is a witch. All her life she has been told that she should only use her magic for good. Consequently, whenever she uses her magic to harm another, the name of her victim is carved into her skin. While she has a spell to cover up the marks, she lives with the pain as a reminder of what she’s done.
When the novel opens, Matilda sets out to get a classmate back for mistreating her when they were friends. But things get complicated when her magic is witnessed by new kid Oliver, who is new to magic and fascinated by Matilda and what she can do.
When Matilda starts experiencing blackouts, feeling as if she is losing her magic, and witnessing horrible visions of death and carnage she knows something is terribly wrong. I was a bit annoyed at this point that Matilda never communicated with her family until the last act about what was going on. But it’s a minor complaint considering.
Mark of the Wicked is not for the faint of heart (see trigger warnings above), but it was for me. As an avid horror reader I appreciated how edgy and unrestrained Bowers’ novel felt. It was what hooked me from the very first few pages.
There is a slow burn romance that throughout the novel felt a little forced to me, but having finished the book, I think that was what the author intended Oliver is an interesting and complex character, just like Matilda and I was happy with his character arc, even if I did predict where things were headed pretty early in the story.
Thenatically, Mark of the Wicked touches on issues of generational trauma, belong in a world where you feel like you are too different, and female friendship. I loved the generational magic, the concept of covens as a wider and important community and how Matilda’s thoughts change on this topic during the course of the story.
Overall, I gave Mark of the Wicked 5?. I absolutely adored it from start to finish and would recommend it to anyone who loves books about witches, grittier fantasy novels like Elana K. Arnold and Erin A. Craig.
What About You?
Have you read Mark of the Wicked? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!