Today it’s time for a book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. The Bitterwine Oath is a book I’ve been curious about since I heard about it. A mystery with a cult that strikes every fifty years? That sounds pretty interesting, so today I’m going to give to tell you about this book and what I thought. Keep on reading to find out more.
A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc to read and review.
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?
I can only imagine what it’s like living in a town where cult massacres take place. And of course, with the 100th anniversary coming up, the town is more popular than it’s ever been. The Bitterwine Oath has a great spooky atmosphere, but it wasn’t everything that I was expecting (not all in a bad way).
Our main character Natalie is a descendant of the cult leader and it doesn’t seem like fun being looked upon for that. After senior year ends, all she wants is to spend time with her friends before they start a new chapter in their lives. Natalie’s life is thrown upside down when she learns there’s more to everything than she realizes and magic is a real thing.
The Bitterwine Oath is filled with strong female characters, friendship, magic and mystery. Even though I have to say I would’ve liked more magic. I did enjoy learning about the past through the excerpts of a book. This is really clever way of sharing information. Sometimes things like that really take me away from the story, but that wasn’t the case in this book.
I have to say I could’ve done without the romance element in this book. I get why it was added and it’s not bad, but in the beginning it felt like it took over the story a bit at times. That being said, I still enjoyed The Bitterwine Oath. The writing style is great and it was a fast read. The author sucked me into this world and I needed to know how it would all play out. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this author for future books!
“Growing up in a town that was notorious for its unexplained tragedies, I couldn’t help but fear the dark.”
“I was spellbound by the place that had lived in my imagination for so long.”
“Deep down, she had to know it was wrong to associate with murderous fanatics, no matter how charismatic or coercive as they may be.”
There are a lot of amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers participating on this tour. If you want to check out their posts as well, click here for the full schedule!
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.