The Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth was a little atypical for a YA/paranormal. There were lots of things that were typical, but the biggest anomaly here was the lack of a real love interest for the main character. But, I will get back to that. Because there were so many of the typical elements, it was like the author was simply following a recipe. A teaspoon of absentee parents, a tablespoon of being someone different than what you were raised to believe, a cup of an adult figure not telling you everything, 6 cups of taking off and doing all sorts of stuff without bothering to tell your parental figure where you are, a few mysterious dread, a bit of paranormal surprise and a cliffhanger ending. Bake at 350 for a few hours and viola, you have your self the typical paranormal YA. But, most of these that I have read lately all have a romantic element, and here, the closest we get are some weird feelings towards someone Viv (our main protagonist, adopted, witch) sees in her dreams. Although at least she herself is skeptical of these feelings.
Towards the beginning I was feeling a little, “aheh” about the book. I had a bunch of things that were gnawing at me (like the fact that Viv finds a picture, assumes she’s adopted, and accepts it, all in about the span of 30 seconds and has less denial over it than I have guilt that I ate a few extra french fries with lunch). But, after a little while, as the story progressed, I became pretty enamored with the story. The pace picked up and the writing improved over the course of the few hundred pages. My opinion grew enough that I was fairly annoyed to reach the end and have so many loose ends, those both directly placed in front of me and those subtly hinted at (Savannah, where are you?).
I don’t know if the story will turn to some sort of reincarnation story or some other witchy explanation; I don’t know how the traitors will be dealt with; I don’t know what happened to Savannah; but I do know, I am eager to read the next book and find out. Overall, despite a few small points that I would have corrected (like calling the immortal a vampire, because the traditional ideas of vampire aren’t really what is going on here), and having a little more denial/resistance when Viv finds out she’s adopted and a witch (really, even for this genre, she is a little too open and accepting to these elements of her life), I think this was a pretty solid start to a new series. The world building and the characters were intriguing and enough to get us started – and I am expecting more to each. I also love stories set in New Orleans, although here, I would love it if the setting played a bigger part in the story or, at least if it were described a little more to make those mental pictures easier to form since I have never been. But, if I were rating this particular recipe, it would get 4 stars. And, I would be looking forward to seeing what the chef had to offer for the dessert course!