Hey everyone! Well I’m back from my trip to London and working to catch up with blogging – expect a lot of posts coming your way in the next week or so! Today, I’m reviewing Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle, a book which sadly wasn’t what I expected.
One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.
Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.
When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found…
I had such high hopes for this book. What could have been a richly atmospheric, magical read ended up falling far short.
This book is set in Ireland during the summer and if that doesn’t immediately scream atmosphere then I don’t know what to say. The author could have made so much of this setting! Unfortunately, it was not used to its full potential; in fact, the book could have been set anywhere. There was nothing really to make it stand out as being set in Ireland. Consider me disappointed.
The setting is not the only thing in this book that I felt was underutilised. One of the characters, Olive, wears a hearing aid and I was looking forward to reading a book with deaf rep as it’s not something I’ve seen before. However, like the Irish setting, this detail was seemingly forgotten about after being introduced. It felt completely inconsequential to the story and came across as a fairly weak plot device to shoehorn in a couple of ‘misheard’ statements.
Speaking of characters, there were far too many in my opinion. In fact, no, that’s not quite right. I can handle stories with lots of characters if they have distinct voices and I can tell them apart. In this book, there were 3 perspectives, each of which talked about numerous characters. Every time the perspective changed, it took real effort on my part to remember who was talking. There was nothing to distinguish one character from another. Oh wait. One of them had blue hair, I think? And one had that unnecessary hearing aid. Seriously, I am not going to remember these people.
I did appreciate the slightly dark undercurrent running throughout parts of the novel, however even this wasn’t exploited as it could have been. It wasn’t hard-hitting and there was no hint of resolution. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a reader that needs everything tied up neatly with a bow, but at least give me a clue as to where things could go? I felt no emotional investment whatsoever; I honestly didn’t care by the end.
The final point I want to make is that there were some awful grammatically incorrect words used in this book and I don’t know what editor gave them a pass to the final publication. Maybe they were meant to be part of the Irish dialect? But seriously, words like “amn’t” and “usen’t” (yes, that’s actually what was written) are awkward to read and just feel WRONG.
Overall, I was looking forward to a magical witchy read with a lot of atmosphere. Instead, I got a rather dull story that had no distinct setting or characters and that I will probably forget reasonably quickly. A real shame.
Have you read this one? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever been disappointed by a book that wasn’t what you expected? x