I’m always looking for new fantasy books and Sweet & Bitter Magic sounded like one I really needed. It’s pitched for the fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire and who can say no to that? Today is my spot on the tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours! I’ll be telling you about this book and what I thought. Keep on reading if you want to find out more!
A big thanks to the publisher for providing an e-arc to read and review.
Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publishing Date: March 9, 2021
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.
Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.
Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.
When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.
Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first..
“You’re allowed to want things. To leave people behind. To grow.”
I have to start off by saying that it did take a bit getting used to reading about a plague (even though it’s a magical one) in this day and age. That being said it was definitely easy to separate the real world from this magical one and Sweet & Bitter Magic turned out to be quite the amazing ride.
One of our main characters Tamsin is a very powerful witch, but after certain events take place she is exiled and cursed. Tamsin can’t feel love or really much of anything. I thought this was really interesting. Especially when reading from Tamsin’s POV. Her character was pretty complex though. There’s so much more to her than just her curse, but also anger and even grief about everything that took place. Her development through this book was amazing and I really came to care about her.
On the other hand we have Wren. She’s a source and basically made of magic and is able to see it everywhere. I can’t imagine how scary it must’ve been to see the plague taking over the place you call home. Wren seems a bit insecure in the beginning, but I loved how strong she turns out to be. Her mission is to save her father and is determined to make that happen no matter the cost. Even if that means giving away some love. Wren is also very curious and it’s clear that even though she’s doing this for her father she knows she hasn’t really lived life the way she dreamed of. This internal struggle was very interesting while also seeing her come face to face with other sides of herself.
While Tamsin and Wren go on this adventure together to help beat this plague it’s interesting to see their relationship develop. They’re the total opposite of each other. Even though they don’t start off friendly they slowly start getting to know each other and have to lean on the other. They truly start getting to know the other side of the story. It was nice that we got more and more about them as we went, because the build up felt so natural. Also, the romance made my heart melt. It wasn’t too much, there was development and it was everything I hope for in a romance. Add some family dynamics and this book had me hooked. I don’t want to go into too much detail, because this is one you really need to read for yourself.
Sweet & Bitter Magic is the first fantasy standalone that I’ve read in a long time that’s so good. Adrienne Tooley really managed the perfect balance of world building and character development. I feel like I got to know both pretty well. The side characters fit the story and the ending left me satisfied. Of course I wouldn’t say no to more in this world, but the author definitely didn’t leave us hanging. This is definitely a fantasy standalone done right!!
Of course I’m not the only one participating on this tour! If you want to see what the other amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers have to say about Sweet & Bitter magic, click here for the full tour schedule.
Giveaway (US Only)
One winner will receive a finished copy of Sweet & Bitter Magic. The giveaway will end on March 15th. Click here to enter.
About the Author
Adrienne Tooley was born and raised in the desert suburbs of Southern California. She grew up in the theater, earning her B.A. in Musical Theatre from Point Park University. She and her wife currently live in New York City where she works in hospitality tech. In addition to writing novels she is also a singer/songwriter and has released several EPs which are available on Spotify & other streaming sites. Her debut novel, SWEET & BITTER MAGIC, will publish from S&S/McElderry in Spring 2021. Her second novel, SOFI AND THE BONE SONG, will release from S&S/McElderry in 2022.
Sweet & Bitter Magic was definitely an adventure and one that I would recommend! I loved that this one definitely wasn’t a typical fantasy book I’ve read before. I can’t imagine not being able to love! I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Sofi and the Bone Song releasing next year.