Happy December, everyone!
I hope November went well for all of you, and that December is better or just as good!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Of Wolves & Witches” by Elena Lawson! I received this book from Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“I messed up. I broke two of the Arcane Council’s laws in one day. I swear it was an accident—but try telling that to the Arcane authorities.
Before I could catch my breath, my simple gypsy life of peddling potions with my guardians is wrenched away. I’m forcibly enrolled into the prestigious and supremely snotty Arcane Arts Academy, given shackles under the guise of mercy for my crimes.
As if that weren’t enough, my volatile magic bound me to two infuriatingly overbearing shifters in the woods near campus, making me an instant pariah.
At least the history teacher is helpful—not to mention insanely gorgeous. And besides giving me a dangerous distraction, there’s something else he can provide—a way to finally find out more about my father and unravel the dark mystery surrounding his death… but some secrets have claws, and if I’m not careful, knowing the truth could get me killed.”
Worldbuilding Development: 3 out of 5 stars
The worldbuilding was one of the stronger aspects of this book. I quickly was able to understand how the Academy mostly worked, at least in terms of how a day-to-day life of students might be like, with all its challenges (especially for Harper, who has never been in a formal school before until now).
Character Development: 2 out of 5 stars
It’s easy for me to sympathize with Harper as a reader somewhat, given her backstory and the eventual reveal that the Headmaster killed her father. I also sympathize with her struggling to fit in at school, especially given her lack of formal schooling before joining the Academy. However, I do find it hard for me to believe that she wouldn’t stop picking fights despite the multiple times she got in trouble. I also disliked her sudden attraction towards Elias, and I didn’t find a lot of development of her as a character throughout the whole book.
Elias did not have a lot of development either, other than 1. being her professor and 2. being her love interest (and I have an issue with this as a reader, as I’ll mention in more details in the romance section of this review). However, I did like the development of Bianca, and how she was willing to risk getting in trouble with the Headmaster (who is her father) to help out Harper in the latter half of the book.
Romance Development: 1 out of 5 stars
The romance between Harper and Elias is, unfortunately, a case of a romance going far too fast. It especially doesn’t help that Elias is Harper’s professor and Harper is his student, nor does it help that Harper is literally seventeen years old.
Also, the book (and the series it’s in) claims to be a “reverse harem romance,” but this book only establishes two people in this relationship so far. If this book was trying to also establish chemistry with the two werewolves that Harper bonded with to create said reverse harem romance, it did a not-great job at doing so, as said werewolves barely show up in the book. When they do show up in the book, most of the time it’s about them asking to be unbonded from Harper. It doesn’t help that Harper initially doesn’t want them to be bonded to her, either. I assume future books in this series will work on developing this further, but as it stands right now, the romance just isn’t good.
Plot Development: 3 out of 5 stars
The plot fits a lot of conventional magical school-type plots; we have the protagonist who, after a magical incident, ends up going to a magical academy where there are friends and bullies alike. Secrets get revealed, and all that culminates in people dying or almost getting killed. It leaves on a cliffhanger where the protagonist has some kind of lineage that others thought impossible, but we as the readers don’t know what it is unless we pick up the next book. The plot itself is just enough to keep my interest as a reader, but unfortunately it also gets rather slow in-between, partially due to the attempted romance development in the book as well as how long it takes for certain plot points (the wolves eventually deciding to stay bonded to Harper, etc.) to happen in general. The pacing could be overall tighter, especially in the middle of the book.
Overall, I’m rating this book 2 out of 5 stars!
The lack of romance development (as well as the problematic aspects of it given the student/teacher relationship as well as the protagonist being technically underage), as well as the lack of character development in general did a lot to bring the book down. However, the worldbuilding in the book is interesting to read.
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