The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Published by: Tor Publishing Group
Pub Date: 09 Jul 2024
Genre: Cozy Fantasy
Pages: 384
Date Read: 23 Feb 2024
Ratings: ★★★★★  

Sarah Beth Durst wrote one of my favorite books of 2020. That story was about a woman who did magic with bones, on a mission to save her husband from death. It was a beautiful love story that had me hooked and crying at the end. That story, however, felt darker, and there was more at stake for the characters than in “The Spellshop.’ By no means is this a remark on this story negatively. It is more of a remark on the wide range of her story-telling.

      “The Spellshop’ is a story about a librarian who escapes the revolution happening in the capital city with an illegally created sentient plant and five packed crates of magic books. 

      She flees back to her home island and struggles with whether she should share the magic or keep it secreted away for fear of the possible consequences. See, magic is banned for everyone, but only those designated. If she doesn’t use her resources, though, the islanders will suffer, with their land and animals dying. She can see that they need her help desperately.

      Kiela is kind and brave; however, she hadn’t started the story that way. Her character grows throughout, from quiet and reserved to strong and outgoing.

      Caz (the sentient talking plant), is by far my favorite character. He’s fierce and protective, and except for water, he’s fearless as well.

      To judge this book against “The Bone Maker” would be unfair, as this is a cozy fantasy and the content is nowhere near as dark. This is more like a comforting lie-in, snuggled under a heated blanket.

      Ah! I almost forgot about the winged cats and the cloud bears. I understand I was supposed to be scared of the cloud bears, but I would absolutely be the idiot cooing at them, trying to get their attention. Maybe even try to hug them? I would be the basis of the cautionary tales told to keep the children away from the cloud bears.

      And the cats! I would also love it if winged cats were real. The cover illustration of a winged cat napping is so adorable. I can easily imagine how it would be to hold one; I bet they are soooo soft!

      Finally, the world-building is amazing! Her writing is clear and descriptive, and I had an easy time seeing the town, the steps, the garden, and the cottage that, just like “The Bone Maker,” I will be able to visit in my mind for many years from now.

Thanks to the author Sarah Beth Durst, Tor, and NetGalley for the review copy. All opinions are mine.

Highlights –

Chapter Twenty-Seven — Page: 283

      She would never have believed how attached she could become in such a short amount of time.
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Chapter Twenty-Seven — Page: 284
      “You can be alone with me.”
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Other books read by this author: The Bone Maker

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