The Price Guide to the Occult

The Price Guide to the Occult

From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch”...

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Title:The Price Guide to the Occult
Author:Leslye Walton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Price Guide to the Occult Reviews

  • Nat

    I knew this book was the one I'd been looking for when I flipped to the last page of the prologue and saw a glimpse of a name I thought to be "Noa," which was exactly what I was searching for the day earlier when on the look-out for fictional characters with the name Noah, for some inexplicable reason. (I never did find anything other than the biblical story, so please let me know if you have any solid

    I knew this book was the one I'd been looking for when I flipped to the last page of the prologue and saw a glimpse of a name I thought to be "Noa," which was exactly what I was searching for the day earlier when on the look-out for fictional characters with the name Noah, for some inexplicable reason. (I never did find anything other than the biblical story, so please let me know if you have any solid book recommendations.)

    The misread name turned out to spell "Nor," but by then I was already too caught up in the world of 

    . I had Nor's sardonic humor and devotion to anonymity, the promise of a book within a book, and exploring the realms of clairvoyance, telekinesis, divination to keep me satisfied.

    To backtrack a bit, I've been a huge fan of Leslye Walton's writing ever since I finished reading 

     back in January 2016. I think about that book more often than I think about any other. It holds such a special place in my heart because it introduced me to two of my favorite aspects in books: family-driven drama & magical realism.

    Though I was caught up quickly in the storyline, as I mentioned above, it still took a bit of time to fully settle into the world of

    ... And then. Then we get some character dynamics introduced, from Nor's sweet and lasting encounter with a certain boy to the story of her mother's

    And it wasn't long before I was lost in their world, repeating the same old mantra of "just one more page." Once again, Leslye Walton excels at weaving together an intricately compelling family narrative.

    I also had a few meta moments when it mentioned how Youtubers, reviewers, bloggers all raved about the book within our book, 

    because I was about to do the same.

    Speaking of which, here are some noteworthy moments I cherished:

    • The fact that Nor doesn't attend high school really hit that sweet spot for me. My main problem with YA books is that their setting is nearly always around a school, so I rarely if ever want to revisit those times of my life. So when we have a main character that feels the same and actually dares to drop out and get her GED instead, I'm left glowing.

    • The trusty old companion dogs at Nor's unwavering side throughout the book.

    • What really got to me, though, was Nor's unique characteristic of wanting to draw as little attention to herself as possible.

    • Which then leads me to discuss the subtle crushing she had on a certain someone (and I'm desperately trying to avoid spoilers here). Let me just say that after reading a whole anthology set around

    , I was more than ready for a full romance to sweep me off my feet already. And the author really knows how to keeps us on our toes when it comes to this one.

    I really wanted a solid build-up to happen for this couple so that by the time they got around to any kind of intimacy I'd be screaming inside. He could've just been standing behind her and my heart rate would pick up. It was refreshing to have love interest be so straightforward and honest about their feelings. I would leave the story to go to bed and then wake with a smile at realizing I'd left off right before he showed on the following page. But the romance was never overpowering in its role.

    Anyway. I am sidetracking.

    • One thing I do wish we could've gotten a more extensive look into was the Blackburn lineage and their matriarch, Rona Blackburn. Like, exploring the different Burdens each Blackburn received. We got a little taste in the prologue but never fully explored past that point the true grandiosity of the first Blackburn women, which is what I loved so much in the author's debut novel with her ability to flesh-out each generation coming before the main character.

    • The descriptions of imagery and inner monologue from Nor's dreams were vivid, and it brought to mind Harry Potter's struggle with seeing through Voldemort's eyes. Which is why I was surprised when I read the Harry Potter reference to Azkaban in this book.

    • On that train of thought, Nor's mother, Fern Blackburn, strongly represented the idea of Levana from

    , especially once I read the comparison below made by Nor's best friend, Savvy. It gave me an unsettled feeling.

    • Speaking of Savvy, aka the Guardian of Unwanted Things, I truly couldn't have asked for a better best friend for Nor. This following quote speaks volumes about their friendship: 

    • I wasn't ready to be done with this book by the time I reached the ending, so I decided to read the acknowledgments, and I'm glad I did because of this touching paragraph:

    All of the above were the things I would later remember. And I so hope that we'll see more of Walton's stories in the near future. I'm eager to know, in particular, if

    will receive a sequel.

    ,

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  • Emer

    Happy book birthday to this great little read.

    Like many others I read Leslye Walton's stunning debut novel, 'The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender' and fell entirely in love with it. It was a full five stars from me and is one of my all time favourite books having read it on multiple occasions. So needless to say I was very eager to read her next book and luckily enough I was granted an eARC on NetGalley. Happy days!!!

    And I am delighted I read it as I found the storyline to be highl

    Happy book birthday to this great little read.

    Like many others I read Leslye Walton's stunning debut novel, 'The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender' and fell entirely in love with it. It was a full five stars from me and is one of my all time favourite books having read it on multiple occasions. So needless to say I was very eager to read her next book and luckily enough I was granted an eARC on NetGalley. Happy days!!!

    And I am delighted I read it as I found the storyline to be highly appealing.

    'The Price of the Occult' follows 17 year old Nor Blackburn, the current youngest of all the Blackburn women living on the fictitious Anathema Island. Each Blackburn woman carries on a curse since the days of the first Blackburn settler on the island, the remarkable and misunderstood witch Rona Blackburn. This curse has diluted the strength of the supernatural powers of the Blackburn women leaving them to live quiet lives on the island...

    Until now.

    Leslye Walton has this purity to her writing. At times in the read I felt like I was put under a spell with the beauty of her prose.

    I loved the main character of Nor. She was a character who had to fight both inner demons and outer demons. In this book the subject of self-harm is explored so if this is triggering for you then prepare yourself prior to reading this book. And perhaps the rest of my review. If it is a topic that you are unable to read about then this is not the book for you. I feel that Leslye Walton delicately explored the inner turmoil of Nor and her constant struggles with her feelings of control or lack there of and as a reader I utterly connected to her as a character. She was so outwardly quiet but underneath that quietness was this well of immense strength and emotion that I found to be quite moving to read about. There is also the most emotional and touching paragraph in Leslye Walton's acknowledgements at the end of the book that I feel truly expresses how the self harm issue is handled in the book. She says she would

    Without wishing to give away spoilers, I loved the plot of this book. It kept me thoroughly engaged and gripped right until the climax of the story. But the ending sadly fell a little flat for me because I felt that what could have been the most powerful scene of the novel happened off page. The storyline just whimpered a little in the last chapter or two. And then all of a sudden there was an epilogue that put in place a line of events that could possibly result in a second book...

    So I'm just feeling a little mixed about the ending. The journey of the book was so powerful that I guess my expectations were sky high and sadly I didn't get quite what I was looking for. However, I still feel as if this book has a rewarding sense of completion so don't be put off thinking that it ends on some sort of cliffhanger because I certainly don't feel that way about it.

    One of the other things about the book that I was a little unsatisfied with were the identities of the supporting characters. I feel that too many of the supporting characters were almost interchangeable with each other and that they did not have strong enough identities for them to be clearly identifiable at all times. There were two characters in particular that I kept mixing up throughout the read.

    Yet even with these few flaws I utterly loved this book. I think that is evidenced by the fact that I have had this preordered in hardback for some time and I will not be cancelling that preorder. In fact I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy just so I can read it again. Something in my gut tells me that this is a book that will definitely hold up and further reward me with a second read.

    So who should read this book?

    People who loved 'The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender' because that same glorious pacing and beautiful prose is present in this.

    People who love books that are subtly haunting and filled with deliciously mysterious events

    People who love strong lead characters that show their strengths in the quietness of their getting through each day

    People who willingly entrust the wellbeing of their heart to an author for when it's open to this sumptuous prose and atmospheric reading experience your heart will be touched by beauty.

  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨

    Exceeds Expectations 💖

    ⚠ Trigger warning: Self harm ⚠

    -First

    Exceeds Expectations 💖

    ⚠ Trigger warning: Self harm ⚠

    -First of all, I want to start off by saying that I had pretty low expectations going into this book! I feel like the amount of negative reviews I saw outweighed the good, and, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying this one! I hadn't read anything by Leslye Walton before reading this, but I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future!

    -The writing style was BEAUTIFUL! I couldn't get enough of it! 💖 Yes, it was a slower paced read, but sometimes a slower pace is needed, and the characters were interesting enough to me that they made up for it.

    -The only real con I found in this book were the excess amount of reference's there were to Nor's scars, and the need she felt to self harm in the past and present. If you consider this a spoiler, I'm sorry, but I feel like this is

    information to know before you decide whether you want to read this book or not!

    I think the Blackburn family, and events that took place in this novel were a delight to read about, and I'm glad now that I decided to pick this one up and give it a fair chance despite my skepticism! 💖

  • Regan

    4.5

  • Shreya (☆High Lady of The Night Court☆)

    It took me longer than I expected to finish this book but I had a great time reading it. I can't explain why but I really enjoyed this book and the story seemed like a short story or a myth but it was written well. The history of witches is very helpfully given in the prologue which sets a nice basis for the story to build on. The cover of this book is beautiful and while reading the book the cover in all its black and yellow glory seems to have the same feel the book does

    In this book we follow

    It took me longer than I expected to finish this book but I had a great time reading it. I can't explain why but I really enjoyed this book and the story seemed like a short story or a myth but it was written well. The history of witches is very helpfully given in the prologue which sets a nice basis for the story to build on. The cover of this book is beautiful and while reading the book the cover in all its black and yellow glory seems to have the same feel the book does

    In this book we follow Nor Blackburn as she faces problems and past trauma that should never have happened. The Blackburn witches are cursed to have their love story end in three days and there have been no exceptions.

    Fern Blackburn, Nor's mother, faced the same fate but Fern was bloodthirsty and reveled in causing pain, a sadist really, and she turned to black magic to try to get Nor's father to love her after those 3 days and failed. Which would have been fine but Fern didn't stop there she began practicing dark magic because she wanted and power and fame which she got, but the price for dark magic is not just money it is pain, blood, and misery not Fern's but that of her victims.

    Watching Nor face the nightmare her mother is very engaging, and revolting because of the lengths Fern will go to keep her power.

    Nor's mother left her when she was just a child, so she was raised by her grandmother, Judd, who is a healer. After Rona Blackburn, the first Blackburn, no one has been able to cast spells. Each Blackburn daughter has only one type of magic but Fern was never content with her only power. She used her magic or 'Burden' as they call it (which was mind control) to gather victims who would willingly let her inflict pain and torture them.

    Nor struggles with the memory of the pain her mother inflicted on her when she was a child and now that Fern is famous that memory seems to be present at every turn.  Witnessing what Nor went through as Fern's daughter is horrifying. But seeing her fight to protect the people she loves against a woman who strikes fear in everyone's hearts is amazing

    I love the story for how simple it was and the characters were all very realistic. The concept of witches and their Burdens was very fun and I enjoyed looking forward to how the story would play out. The book didn't ask for the reader to think very much, so if you want to read a book that doesn't keep you stressing too much then I think you will enjoy this one. It's not fast paced but it is a pretty pleasant read and overall I like it.

    I rate this book 4 stars and look forward to other books Leslye Walton might write.

  • Whispering Stories

    Book Reviewed by Stacey on

    Nor lives on a small island called Anathema. She is a direct descendant of Rona Blackburn who lived on the island over a century ago and who was attacked by the other settlers on the island for being a witch. Rona cursed the settlers but in doing so she cursed her own family too.

    Now back in the present day, Nor knows all about the curse. She knows only too well via her own mother what the curse can do. She hasn’t seen her mother in many years a

    Book Reviewed by Stacey on

    Nor lives on a small island called Anathema. She is a direct descendant of Rona Blackburn who lived on the island over a century ago and who was attacked by the other settlers on the island for being a witch. Rona cursed the settlers but in doing so she cursed her own family too.

    Now back in the present day, Nor knows all about the curse. She knows only too well via her own mother what the curse can do. She hasn’t seen her mother in many years after she nearly killed her, but now her mother has returned and she is back with a book ‘The Price Guide to the Occult’ in which she is selling black magic, but at what cost?

    The book opens with the story of Rona Blackburn and the new island settlers. You get to find out all about Rona and the curse that she placed and why it ended up cursing her family too. The story then moves to the present day and you learn about all Nor and what the young 16/17-year-old does and the shop she works in and her friends. This middle section I must admit drained me a little. It dragged as not much happened.

    Then we come to the return of Nor’s mother and the book truly comes alive. I was so close to giving up on the book but I am glad that I didn’t as the last section is worth waiting for. Nor’s mother is one proper black witch who doesn’t care about anyone but herself, not even her own daughter. She will burn and drowned people to get her own way.

    Overall the book is a great read. Nor is an interesting character, though I would love to have gotten to know her better as I feel she was a little overshadowed by the curse and her mother.

  • Emily May

    A few years ago, a read a very strange and very beautiful book aptly-named

    . It took me completely by surprise and stole my heart with its gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and rich atmosphere that made everything so damn emotional even when nothing much was happening. I have long awaited another book by the author but - and I feel so sad abo

    A few years ago, a read a very strange and very beautiful book aptly-named

    . It took me completely by surprise and stole my heart with its gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and rich atmosphere that made everything so damn emotional even when nothing much was happening. I have long awaited another book by the author but - and I feel so sad about this -

    just didn't get to me in the same way. Or at all.

    It is difficult to explain what was so great about

    , which is why

    is basically a rambling, incoherent stream of emotion. With gifs. But I do think it gets the amount of weirdness just right, and the prose is beautiful without being too purple.

    was just strange where

    was beautifully strange. This book is so overwritten in parts that I struggled to follow what was going on, which made for an

    . Despite being harder to follow, it actually lacked the character complexity, and overall maturity of the author's first book. Not to mention the charm.

    was unlike anything I'd ever read before, whereas this book feels more like a standard YA paranormal romance with witches. The protagonist, Nor, is obsessed with a boy called Reed, and the book's ending feels like a set up for possible sequels, as well as a possible love triangle.

    The prologue is by far the book's strongest moment. In fact, it gave me a lot of hope that this could be a book I would love as much as the author's first. It feels more true to the author's style, or what I perceive to be the author's style based on her previous work: dramatic, whimsical, atmospheric and with a touch of non-graphic sex. And then - speculating here - it feels like an editing team swooped in and was like "nuh-uh, we need to be able to market this; more crushes and spells, please".

    Then it becomes boring. After the dramatic backdrop has been put into place, we find ourselves inside the head of Nor Blackburn, the latest in a long line of cursed Blackburn women. She wants to keep to herself, hang with her friends, crush on Reed, and be as inconspicuous as possible, but her mother, Fern, is making that difficult. Fern publishes "The Price Guide to the Occult" - a literal price guide for spells - and starts selling said spells and causing havoc. Looks like Nor's going to have to get her hands dirty.

    There's still many examples of beautiful writing here, but I was bored out of my mind in parts. It takes a hell of a long time to work its way up to the Fern drama, and Nor is not interesting or exciting enough a protagonist to hold the story up in the meantime. For at least half the book, it is hard to make sense of what we’re supposed to care about. The romance? Sorry, wasn't enough for me.

    I'm sure I will still be tempted to try out future books by Walton, but I'll pass on the likely sequels to this one.

    TW: self-harm.

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  • Lotte

    Leslye Walton’s debut novel,

    , is one of my favourite books of all time — its wonderfully magical weirdness took me completely by surprise when I read it a couple of years ago.

    This, however, was sadly entirely average and read like any other YA paranormal romance about witches. I think

    said it best in her review: it felt like Leslye Walton had a cool idea for an intergenerational story about witches, and then an editing team swept in and

    Leslye Walton’s debut novel,

    , is one of my favourite books of all time — its wonderfully magical weirdness took me completely by surprise when I read it a couple of years ago.

    This, however, was sadly entirely average and read like any other YA paranormal romance about witches. I think

    said it best in her review: it felt like Leslye Walton had a cool idea for an intergenerational story about witches, and then an editing team swept in and said "nope, we gotta add in lots of teen angst, a romance and a sort of love triangle (?) to make it more appealing to the teens!!". Leslye Walton definitely knows how to write and the writing style was the book's (only?) strong suit, but overall, I wasn‘t invested in the story and the characters at all. I also didn’t like how the epilogue went into a completely new direction and seemed to hint at possible sequels, which I will not be reading.

    Even though this was kind of a disappointment, I haven’t entirely lost faith in Walton’s writing yet and hope she will return to the whimsical weirdness of her first novel in any future writing endeavors.

  • bran (brandonthebookaddict)

    Oh, how I wanted to love this book. (

    ) But unfortunately, it didn't work out. (

    ) I expected too much. (

    ) And got too little in return. (

    ) Honestly, the book

    is beautiful-- all red and green with a design etched into the cover.

    A false and deceptive look to pull you in and become trapped in its spell.

    But haha, nice try book, nice try.

    Its spell is pretty fucking weak,

    Oh, how I wanted to love this book. (

    ) But unfortunately, it didn't work out. (

    ) I expected too much. (

    ) And got too little in return. (

    ) Honestly, the book

    is beautiful-- all red and green with a design etched into the cover.

    A false and deceptive look to pull you in and become trapped in its spell.

    But haha, nice try book, nice try.

    Its spell is pretty fucking weak, a baby penguin could break free. (i don't know what a baby penguin has to do with this...)

    The beginning of the book, the

    prologue, was the

    part of the cake. Everything else was either too crumbly or over-sweetened. For a magical-realism book, the whole aspect of it was nothing but, 'sometimes' moody or flashy; most of that was due to the atmosphere in the book--of the setting, a place. (It takes place on a omg lush as fuck green and wild foggy woody island with the ocean and its misty and smooth setting, gosh what a perf setting)

    I feel like for 'magical realism' itself, a lot of it has to do with the certain connection with the reader and said book. It has to evoke certain 'feelings' and vague......things. (Like this smol sentence. Not a lot of coherency, and a lot of 'it doesn't-really-makes-sense'

    it-does-in-a-way.)

    I felt nothing but flat out 'wtf' at everything and everyone in this book.

    This booke fell super flat on its back and flailed around, trying to get back up.

    It pretty much couldn't and pretty much expired. bYE.

    There isn't a lot going on in

    . It has a pretty great intriguing title. And that's all it had going for it. The title itself refers back to a certain spell book (with the same title) that plays an integral part within this book. Some things happened. But we're never given a full or complete explanation as to why.

    So many events that happened or caused by, were all pretty much coincidental and I

    . The MC is a special snowflake who is friends (of course) with someone who is far more interesting and 'everything better' than the said MC. We're never given an explanation to:

    why is the MC so powerful?

    what cause give this MC so much power?

    what happened to certain characters?

    who and why was this certain family guard and protect witches?

    what is this magic system?

    who is the government?

    and

    was that epilogue???

    From what I'm understanding, this book is a standalone???

    after that epilogue????

    not a lot of things take place in a book, the MC conquers everything--she has so much damn power but scared to use it, her best friend is probably the best thing in the book: cracks amazing timed jokes all the while trying to help said MC out--especially in the love department, everything turns out in the end and then loose ends are never resolved but to fly out wailing in the wind, and then a shit epilogue about something important and then--

    . book ends.

    you're welcome. have a great day. thanks for coming to my ted ta-- i mean book review.

    **grinds and nashes teeth and slaps hand to forehead***

    .

    So much fucking potential.

    Too little and too late on the deliverance.

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