Today I’d like to talk about a book I read almost a year ago, “These Witches Don’t Burn” by Isabel Sterling, and back the release of book 2 coming next week!
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- These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
- Series These Witches Don’t Burn (Book 1)
- Genre YA, Fantasy, LGBT
- Publisher Razorbill
- Buy Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Content Warning: blood, animal sacrifice, arson, major character death, on-page car accident
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.
Full disclosure, I read “These Witches Don’t Burn” by Isabel Sterling back in December 2019. I finished reading it after finishing the then-current line-up of Black Dagger Brotherhood Books. I also finished this book stranded in a parking garage waiting for Josie to bail me out. (Don’t ask.) I was in a reading slump after finishing the most recent book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series and was stuck in that world. “These Witches Don’t Burn” was the perfect book that sucked me into another realm and had me sitting with anticipation for the next release!
This book was everything that I want in a book. It takes place in Salem where I spent most of my childhood having grown up in the adjacent town. The main character is a lesbian, there’s bi representation– and witches, they are witches! I’ve been absolutely craving queer witchy media lately after getting entirely into “Motherhood: Fort Salem.”
I was really worried about this book when I first read it because I haven’t read YA in a long time. I’ve been loving my adult romances lately, but this book I had anticipated the release from the beginning of 2019 when I had learned about it.
This book takes place in modern-day Salem. The main character, Hannah, an elemental witch, is getting over her break-up with Veronica, another witch in her coven. Over the course of the book, which takes place during the summer between Hannah’s junior and senior years of high school, Hannah meets Morgan.
Morgan is a cute new ballerina in town that Hannah must hide her powers from because she is a Reg (non-magical person). This is where I have my first problem. “Reg” sounds really juvenile. Maybe this is why I don’t read YA much anyone, but I feel like most YA fantasy has at least one slang word for something that sounds like a 14-year-old made it up and yet all the adults use it. That being said, this nit-picky complaint was probably my biggest problem of this book.
The plot takes Hannah and Veronica on a quest trying to figure out who the blood witch is hunting their coven. I’ve heard a lot of people say the plot was predictable, which it is, but I didn’t mind it that much. I thought the writing was done well, the characters were interesting, and Hannah’s inner monologues were also hilarious to me because it’s some of the same things I thought in high school!
I usually despise YA love triangles, but I actually got really into this one. I thought Veronica was way more interesting and pushed Hannah to be a better person than Morgan ever could have. I was invested! And an author who gets be invested in a love triangle gets a brownie point in my book!
Overall, I thought the book was whimsical, relatable, and witty. It’s a book that I needed in high school and I’m glad to have now. Hannah deals with a lot of real feelings that queer teenagers, and even straight teenagers, go through. The representation was on point and the plot was interesting and cute.
This book gets a 4/5 for its relatabilitly, its immersive writing, and its use of character. I needed this book at 16 and I think a lot of other kids could use it now. The next book, This Coven Won’t Break, comes out on May 19, 2020 and you know I’m waiting in anticipation!
Did you read These Witches Don’t Burn? What did you think?
If you liked These Witches Don’t Burn, if you did the next book comes out 5/19/2020. Order with my links below.
- Barnes and Noble
- The Book Depository
- Indie Bound– Support your local indie bookstore!
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6 Comments on “These Witches Don’t Burn | Review and Book 2 Release Info!”
LaurieMay 17, 2020 at 2:24 am
This book is still on my TBR, but I need to find the time to pick it up.
Brigid DowneyMay 17, 2020 at 1:10 pm
I have so much on my TBR lol I’ve been in a reading slump in quarantine
Lauren BeckerMay 19, 2020 at 11:24 am
I’ve been curious about this one, so I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed it. Yay for Bi representation, and for taking place in Salem!! Love it.
Brigid DowneyMay 26, 2020 at 7:57 am
I’m always on the hunt for good bi representation!
Krisha?May 21, 2020 at 2:14 am
This book has been on my radar for a while now! Glad to hear you liked it?
Brigid DowneyMay 26, 2020 at 7:58 am
You should definitely read it!