Review: The Flower Bowl Spell by Olivia Boler
I receive this novel free of charge from BBT in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
Journalist Memphis Zhang isn’t ashamed of her Wiccan upbringing—in fact, she’s proud to be one of a few Chinese American witches in San Francisco, and maybe the world. Unlike the well-meaning but basically powerless Wiccans in her disbanded coven, Memphis can see fairies, read auras, and cast spells that actually work—even though she concocts them with ingredients like Nutella and antiperspirant. Yet after a friend she tries to protect is brutally killed, Memphis, full of guilt, abandons magick to lead a “normal” life. The appearance, however, of her dead friend’s sexy rock star brother—as well as a fairy in a subway tunnel—suggest that magick is not done with her. Reluctantly, Memphis finds herself dragged back into the world of urban magick, trying to stop a power-hungry witch from using the dangerous Flower Bowl Spell and killing the people Memphis loves—and maybe even Memphis herself.
Random: Suicidal ducks! Read past the first fifty pages.
I found it hard to get into the book for the first 50 or so pages. It felt like the book spent spending too much time in the exposition and providing an in-depth background (that continues throughout the novel) instead of getting the witchy elements rolling. The only good thing about this long start are the small little interludes by magical creatures that fly around and distract Memphis. They are mainly fairies and the occasional duck.
Memphis was a great protagonist; she was a strong woman who dealt with crazy situations. An old friend abandons two little girls, Cleo and Romola, at her doorsteps and Memphis really has no choice but to take them in. She is a maternal person because she does her best to protect them while she tries to figure out why their mother, Viveka, insisted that Memphis take them in. It is also good to see that her journalism skills aren’t entirely useless.
The supporting cast are the ones that I love. Xien as a fairy is pretty cool. I think the character that I like the most was the French waiter, Remy. He is just funny and enchanting. More importantly, Memphis and Remy’s interaction showed that Memphis is not entirely comfortable, no, um, she is not as invested in her relation with Cooper (16 years her senior) as she would like the readers to believe. It is a little snub on Remy’s part but she doesn’t correct him right there and then. When she does correct him, it is in a flirtatious way so that provides an insight into her mind.
Memphis is at her element when she is using her magick. She has been denying her wiccan self for a few years so she is rusty but she is good. Tucker, the granddad of Cleo and Romola, really helps Memphis gather her bearings and prepare against the magical attacks against her. He is the one who understands the fairies more than Memphis and leads her to obtaining help from fairies. The magick part of Memphis makes her an interesting character because she has always known about magick and is accustomed to weird things happening. The more she uses magick, the more Memphis begins to feel comfortable in her own skin again (at least that is the impression I got).
Remember the in-depth background at the introduction of the novel that I mentioned, the problem with is that half of it is used to explain Memphis’s witchy background which is good but the other half deals with her mundane job as a journalist and her relationship with (boring) Cooper. It is an attempt to show her as a happy woman except she is not. It doesn’t seem like she likes her job very much (she is only friends with one co-worker) and her relationship with Cooper is not really strong. He doesn’t understand or care her wiccan background which is a vital part of Memphis even as she denies it. The intro is divided between being interesting and being boring at the same time.
Overall, it was a good novel that takes a while to warm up. It delves into the world of wicca but it not too in depth. Memphis starts out as a character that is not entirely happy with her life but ends up finding her road back to being comfortable with herself. Not happy with life but comfortable which is a better place than we find her in at the start.
51st in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, Witch and Witchcraft, Where Are You Reading?-California