The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West Genre: Young Adult Mystery Publishing Date: December 1, 2020
Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
First and foremost, I love pretty covers, and will you look at that beauty? I would die to own a physical copy!
Well, I signed up for this tour in around October, when the spooky season was still on and it just matched my vibe at that time. I read it in around mid- November and trust me when I say that it brought back the Spook-tober feels.Among all the other things I loved about this book, I really liked the setting. I wasn’t willing to pick this one up at night, even though I eventually was compelled to, and so, you can estimate how eerie the setting and how gripping the story was.
I really enjoyed how the author was successfully able to merge various genres like mystery, magic realism, fantasy and horror without making the reader feel overwhelmed. The writing style was not something poetic and I was fine with it because the plot did not require one. The simple and easy to understand writing did justice to the unfolding turns throughout the story.
The characters were well written and I enjoyed the friendship in the book, although I would have appreciated a little more of their back stories. I also couldn’t help but wonder the way the author would have come up with the different aspects of the plot, and when I do so for a book, it passes as a well written and well framed plot for me.
I really enjoy the mysteries which make you stay not just for the plot but for the characters. Although this one managed to do that upto some extent, I would say that a little more can be dug into the characters so that the reader is able to root for them.
Nevertheless, I liked reading this one and also the book ended on an open note. Having said that, I wish the story to continue and would love to read the sequel if the author plans to write one.
I would definitely recommend it, especially for the YA audience, and those who enjoy magical mysteries revolving around cults and secretive societies.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐.5
Five Reasons to read The Bitterwine Oath
- We got a fantastic, gripping plot which is going to keep you hooked till the very end.
- We got an eerie and spooky setting which will give you vibes of The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina.
- We got a sisterhood screaming of girl power.
- We got touching friendships and a multi-cultural character set.
- We got murders and secrets mixed with magic and horror. A blend for a perfect read, isn’t it?
About the Author
Hannah West is the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. She’s been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when she penned her first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until she studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for her first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from her parents provided the inspiration that allowed her to wrangle all her untold and unfinished stories into a novel. Hannah currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two rambunctious rescue dogs.