Review: The Raven’s Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)

Title: The Raven Spell (Conspiracy of Magic #1)
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: 47North
Source: Thomas Allen and Son
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In Victorian England a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder.

After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.

To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?

Review:

In Victorian England, sister witches Edwina and Mary Blackwood discover a man on the riverbank, nearly dead. Mary collects memories from corpses in little baubles, so she decides to take the memories from this man even though he isn’t dead yet. The man, Ian Cameron, wakes in hospital with no memory of his identity, with a business card of a witch and an unusual pocket watch in his pocket. The only clue Ian is given is to find the sisters who run a former apothecary shop. Meanwhile, strange murders are happening across the city, causing alarm. Though the sisters return some of his memories, many of Ian’s recent memories are missing, including the reason he was in town and what caused his accident. Edwina assists Ian in his investigation of the murders, a missing friend, and what caused his accident. 

This was an exciting and suspenseful fantasy mystery. I love it when fantasy is combined with historical fiction. There was a secret underground society of witches in this world. The story was fast paced, with a few different mysteries happening at the same time. 

The ages of the characters were never given, but I imagined the main characters to be in their early twenties. There was one part where an adult character is said to have a relationship with another character described as a child. It was only mentioned a couple of times but I found it kind of disturbing and out of place with the rest of the story. There were also mentions of suicide, but they were brief. 

This story ended on a cliffhanger. I’m really curious to see what happens in the next book!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Have you read The Raven Spell? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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