Title: The Bitterwine Oath
Author: Hanna West
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Age: Young Adult
Page Count: 200
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Themes: Friendship, Magic, Witches, Cults,
Tour Schedule: TBR and Beyond The Bitterwine Oath
Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
Hannah West is the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. She’s been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when she penned her first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until she studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for her first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from her parents provided the inspiration that allowed her to wrangle all her untold and unfinished stories into a novel.
Hannah currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two rambunctious rescue dogs.
Are you ready for my 5 reasons to read The Bitterwine Oath? Here they come!
2. Badass Ladies! Like total badasses.
3. The mystery was complicated and not easily predicted!
4. Hardcore spooky vibes that made me feel creeped out in the best ways possible
5. Adrenaline Rush! I mean I was on the edge of my seat!
The Bitterwine Oath was incredible. It started with some spooky mystery set up and continued to get even more spooky and confusing in the best way possible. I loved how things unfolded slowly for the reader as Nat was learning things for herself too. The characters were complicated and it was hard to tell who was a suspect and who wasn’t.
I also really enjoyed the pacing of this book. It was fast paced enough to keep me entertained and interested, but was not too quick that it felt rushed. I felt that there was a good balance between information and action.
The few things I didn’t love about this story were things that I tend not to love about a lot of YA books. Without getting into spoilers I think that the necessary amount of secrecy and omission of information was used within the story to keep readers, and Nat, at arms length, though this specific dynamic is something that always frustrates me. Even though a few things frustrated me throughout the book, overall I loved it. It was action packed, creepy, confusing, and the ending was one I felt satisfied by.
Go pick this book up if you like mystery, cults, magic, and badass women!
Rating: 4/5 stars