Bad Witch Burning, by Jessica Lewis
Publication Date: August 24th, 2021
Page Count: 352 pages
Content warning: minor body horror, threat of harm to animals and animal death. Some animal deaths are real and some are imagined. Emotional manipulation from parental figure and threat of physical harm.
*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Tours free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
“You are at a crossroads...You’ve been burning for a long while. It’s consuming you, but you haven’t noticed yet. But soon, it will be obvious to everyone.[...]Don’t contact me until the burning is over. This is important - don’t write any more letters at all. Be careful, Katrell. If you’re not, you’ll burn down not only yourself, but everyone and everything around you.”
For fans of Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comes a witchy story full of black girl magic as one girl’s dark ability to summon the dead offers her a chance at a new life, while revealing to her an even darker future.
Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?
However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.
But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.
MY TOP FIVE REASONS TO READ Bad Witch Burning:
Katrell is the angry unapologetic protagonist that I want to be in life. Her anger is so genuine and powerful, making me thrum with the need to protect myself alongside her. At the same time, I feel the fragility of who she is and what her situation is, and I am torn over whether I want to protect her or run away from her raw emotions. This can be an exceeding difficult thing to write in protagonists, especially AFAB ones, and Lewis does a splendid job of it.
Katrell’s friendship with Will is truly beautiful and pure. I want to make sure that my relationship with my friends are just like hers, because that is the golden tier of friendship. Will being the one person to bring Katrell back from the edge of anger and hatred at any time...that’s beautiful.
Bad Witch Burning’s conflict centers around Katrell and her home situation - primarily that of Gerald being an abusive asshole and Cheryl refusing to do anything about it. Lewis handles the abuse and emotional manipulation of Katrell’s mom with the tenderness and surety that comes from having experienced the same situation.
Personally, reading Bad Witch Burning was the beginning of an emotional catharsis. I had to stop after the first few chapters to take stock of how I was feeling, of where my mental state was heading, as a victim of parental/physical abuse. But reading this isn’t a trigger point or a stumble into a dark space - it is an acknowledgement of the pain and anger that had been created. It is Lewis looking out at the reader and saying “I see you. I have been you. But what you were and what you are is not the you you are going to be. There is always hope as long as you have the will to survive.”
The magic system surrounding the risen dead (titled Revenants in Bad Witch Burning) is fascinating. From Katrell figuring just what will bring someone back to life to what controls them to her realizing that she actually has very little control over them...It is a very slow, but ominous journey as Katrell goes beyond the imagined limits of necromancy.
Bad Witch Burning is truly meant for the angry people who have been tossed down by life more times than they can count, for the people who keep believing in the people holding the knife in their backs, for the people who are more powerful than they can imagine, but can only think to the next step in surviving. This is such a powerful story, I cannot express fully just how much this story has affected me.
Are you still not sure about reading Bad Witch Burning? Well, if you like these books:
Blood Like Magic, Liselle Sambury
The Dead and the Dark, Courtney Gould
Magic Dark and Strange, Kelly Powell
The Scrapegracers, Hannah Abigail Clarke
Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo
Then you’d definitely want to grab a copy of Bad Witch Burning!
Another super awesome thing is that Bad Witch Burning is out as of TODAY! You can get a copy from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy online. Click on these buy links and you can get your own copy at:
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for allowing me to join the Bad Witch Burning book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their Tour Schedule webpage.
Jessica Lewis is a Black author and receptionist from Alabama. She has a degree in English Literature and Animal Science (the veterinarian plan did not work out). She lives with her way-funnier-than-her grandmother, who answers all of her wild questions about ghosts and zombies and werewolves (even if she’s annoyed sometimes haha!). When she isn’t writing or working she enjoys watching cooking shows or HGTV-type home shows.