Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
“Love is not something to be taken lightly.”
I received this e-arc via TBR and Beyond Tours. This does not affect my review or opinion. All thoughts are my own, and I’m being 100 percent honest. Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Adrienne Tooley for providing me this book for reviewing purposes.
‘Sweet & Bitter Magic’ is a fun fast-paced book about magic and sapphic witches
This book was a really fun read! I finished it in a day, because this story was so addictive. I loved the fact that there are witches, sources, and ‘normal’ people or people who don’t have magic. I’m definitely a fan of the length of the book, but I do feel like some scenes went by too quickly. The world-building could’ve been a bit more detailed and the villain of the story was quite obvious, but overall this is a good debut!
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…
Let’s start with this cover, because it’s beautiful. I am in love with it. I feel like the hardback copy of this book is gorgeous, and I want it in my bookshelf.
This book’s plot is quite fun and interesting. Sweet & Bitter Magic feels a bit like a Beauty and the Beast retelling and if you know me, you know I absolutely love retellings. The quest Tamsin and Wren embark upon was really fun and I loved following these girls around. Wren and Tamsin need to save the world from a magical plague and in order to do that, they need to work together. A task that sounds a lot easier than it is.
The villain of the story was quite obvious from the beginning. I also found their redemption arc to be a bit rushed and pushed on me as a reader. I personally wasn’t ready to forgive their actions and didn’t want the main characters to forgive them so soon either. However, in Sweet & Bitter Magic no one is fully good. Everyone has their own flaws, which makes me like these characters even more.
The world-building was okay, it sometimes lacked some details. Most of the time I could picture the locations, but I still would’ve liked to read more about Within. That’s why I would love for Sweet & Bitter Magic to be the first book in a series. I always love a good standalone, but I have to say I am sad Tamsin and Wren’s story stops here. I am intrigued by this world and this unique magic and would love a sequel! There is so much more I’d love to see and read about.
Would I recommend it?
Yes, I would!
Frequent discussions and depictions of grief regarding loss of a loved one, including: death of a sibling, death of a parent, and death of a friend, depictions of anxiety, depression, and mental illness, emesis (mention of vomiting on page), brief mention of needles (tattooing), amnesia
LGBTQ+ rep, lesbian main characters, ownvoices
Fantasy, young adult
March 9th, 2021
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 Spring2021. Her second novel, SOFI AND THE BONE SONG, will release from S&S/McElderry in 2022.