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Mark of the Wicked

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A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers' creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked. Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life fr A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers' creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked. Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds. When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic - and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn't responsible -- at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth...before anyone else turns up dead.


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A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers' creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked. Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life fr A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers' creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked. Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds. When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic - and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn't responsible -- at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth...before anyone else turns up dead.

30 review for Mark of the Wicked

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    DNF at 31% The premise of this was very intriguing- I love a witchy, morally gray character a lot of the time. Unfortunately this heroine is petty, selfish, whiny, naive, and does some incomprehensibly stupid things. And yes, teenagers can be all of those things from time to time, but it's not particularly enjoyable to read about them for me. I was hoping for something less petty and more vicious with understandable motivations. This is witchy mean girl for no good reason, maybe getting her comeu DNF at 31% The premise of this was very intriguing- I love a witchy, morally gray character a lot of the time. Unfortunately this heroine is petty, selfish, whiny, naive, and does some incomprehensibly stupid things. And yes, teenagers can be all of those things from time to time, but it's not particularly enjoyable to read about them for me. I was hoping for something less petty and more vicious with understandable motivations. This is witchy mean girl for no good reason, maybe getting her comeuppance, which makes it hard to root for her. She's a jerk to her mom, her former friends, and uses magic to do some pretty reprehensible things. I was pretty sure I knew who the villain was right away and reviews seem to be confirming that. Also there is a lot of animal cruelty and death, which reviews are indicating only gets worse. I can stomach that if it feels earned in a story, but this just feels senseless. Others might enjoy this more than I did, but I'm passing on continuing. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stay Fetters

    "Death in magic is a dark path, one you can easily get lost on." DNF @ 40% Mark of the Wicked was a book that instantly caught my attention. If you haven't realized, I love books that deal with Witches and Witchcraft. Then I saw the cover and was sold. I knew that this was a book that I needed to read. And wow, did that backfire. I shouldn't let my witchiness get in the way of me deciding what I want to read. I should learn my lesson but I haven't. This started off slow and never picked up. I tried "Death in magic is a dark path, one you can easily get lost on." DNF @ 40% Mark of the Wicked was a book that instantly caught my attention. If you haven't realized, I love books that deal with Witches and Witchcraft. Then I saw the cover and was sold. I knew that this was a book that I needed to read. And wow, did that backfire. I shouldn't let my witchiness get in the way of me deciding what I want to read. I should learn my lesson but I haven't. This started off slow and never picked up. I tried to talk myself into reading more but I just couldn't torture myself any longer. The story was bland right along with the stiff characters. I felt as if robots were traveling their way through this book. It wasn't entertaining. It wasn't scary. It sure as hell wasn't a debut that I would brag about. Let's start off with the worst main character ever. Matilda. Who the hell names their main character Matilda? Do we not remember that horrible movie with the same name? (Yes, there's a grudge I hold because of what the lead actress said about people from South Philly) There were zero redeeming qualities about her. She was an overly petty and selfish teenager who cried and cast horrible spells on people she didn't like. What a pathetic excuse for a Witch! Her Witch card has been revoked! And then Oliver showed up and I thought this is where everything changes. *rubs hands together* Who doesn't love a male witch!? Ugh! He was terrible too. He actually allowed Matilda to be an awful human. Gross! Okay, there was a lot that I didn't like but there were a few things that I did enjoy. I loved the silent and creepiness of Matilda's Grandma. What a character! She had a lot more going for her than Matilda and she rarely talked. There was something about her that caught my attention. Can we have a story about her instead? And I also enjoyed the random murders/killings. They were creepy and ritualistic. Talk about weekend fun! Mark of the Wicked was not for me and it was boring. I like my characters to have a lot more spunk and Matilda had nothing. Well, she was a whiny b**ch but that's not fun. If you're going to be a B, own it. Don't whine about it. Let's hear what the goat has to say.....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    I really enjoyed this! The magic was interesting, I liked that magic was just accepted by everyone and it wasn’t this huge secret that needed to be kept to oneself or dire consequences would happen. The friendships and family dynamics were also interesting, they were strained at times but when the time was right everyone came together and helped one another. It was really sweet and precious to see. I did call the twist but I’m not mad about it whatsoever. It was still cleverly written. It does h I really enjoyed this! The magic was interesting, I liked that magic was just accepted by everyone and it wasn’t this huge secret that needed to be kept to oneself or dire consequences would happen. The friendships and family dynamics were also interesting, they were strained at times but when the time was right everyone came together and helped one another. It was really sweet and precious to see. I did call the twist but I’m not mad about it whatsoever. It was still cleverly written. It does happen somewhat early on, but I still felt the pacing was constructed well. Nothing felt like it was too fast or too slow. It made sense with what happened. I kept having to remind myself this is, in fact, a debut novel. Georgia Bowers is talented and I can’t wait to read what else she creates! This is the absolute most perfect book to read around this time of year. Full of witches and magic, this story even had witch familiars which was absolutely adorable to see them on page, I highly recommend this if you’re in the mood for some witchy, Halloween vibes!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    Oh my God, 2021 is blessing us with yet another ruthless, "bad" female main character and I, personally, am about to go nuts Oh my God, 2021 is blessing us with yet another ruthless, "bad" female main character and I, personally, am about to go nuts

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    This book impressed me! I have been burned by similar covers with similar dark themes (horrid, wilder girls) so I was definitely hesitant when it came to this book. However, it turned out to be really good! Synopsis: Matilda is a young witch who has a bit of a dark side. It’s not entirely her fault, her dad left and she blamed her mother and the coven for running him off. She doesn’t make friends easily and has to rely on her magic for friendship, relationships, and even payback. However, each tim This book impressed me! I have been burned by similar covers with similar dark themes (horrid, wilder girls) so I was definitely hesitant when it came to this book. However, it turned out to be really good! Synopsis: Matilda is a young witch who has a bit of a dark side. It’s not entirely her fault, her dad left and she blamed her mother and the coven for running him off. She doesn’t make friends easily and has to rely on her magic for friendship, relationships, and even payback. However, each time Matilda hurts someone else, their name appears on her face, cut into her. She carried that pain of their name forever after. However, weird things start to happen to Matilda, she blacks out, random animals suddenly appear dead with her name cut into them, and a school girl ends up dead. Now Matilda needs to figure out what is happening to her before it’s too late. What I liked: - I love the morally grey protagonist! I think we need more of these types of characters in YA novels! - Tge portrayal of witches in this book makes it seem so naturally and not supernatural in the least. I mean it doesn’t read like a fantasy novel but rather a dark realistic fiction one. - I actually didn’t see the twist coming and even though it saddened me, I though it was great! What I Disliked: - The mother daughter relationship in this book is overplayed in many YA books - some of the descriptions were a little too much and it dragged on at times. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to YA mystery lovers!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy McCaw

    Mark of the Wicked is a creepy, atmospheric book about Matilda, a young witch trying to figure out who is framing her for using dark magic. I really liked the magical system and how Matilda developed through the course of the book, exploring how magic should be used. Georgia Bowers develops an unsettling mood throughout the book, and there are some stunningly spooky set pieces. A fantastic debut!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hastings

    Dark, twisty, haunting, and the perfect witchy read! When witches harm another, the name of their victim is carved on their body. Matilda can cover her marks with a family spell. Which is good, because since her father left, she’s been using her magic to be popular and to get whatever she wants. But when animals are slaughtered and she starts blacking out, Matilda must find out who or what is causing it. A new witch and romantic interest, Oliver is helping her. I loved the unique magical system Dark, twisty, haunting, and the perfect witchy read! When witches harm another, the name of their victim is carved on their body. Matilda can cover her marks with a family spell. Which is good, because since her father left, she’s been using her magic to be popular and to get whatever she wants. But when animals are slaughtered and she starts blacking out, Matilda must find out who or what is causing it. A new witch and romantic interest, Oliver is helping her. I loved the unique magical system inside of a contemporary world. The character development was top notch; for me, Matilda went from unlikeable, to someone I could cheer for. I loved how she mended relationships with friends and family. And oh, the twists were better than a witch flying loop-de-loops on a broomstick. Positive queer rep/relationship.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lousbookstuff

    You can find my full review for this as well as other books on my blog here Oh, another book I signed up to read purely based on the cover and a little snippet of the blurb. I was sold at “creepy YA fantasy” as I am a total sucker for this kind of book. I actually think this book was pretty good in the end. I was unsure of it during the first maybe 50% as I just found the characters hard to like, you know? The writing style is nice and easy to read and it is so quick to get through. I actually read You can find my full review for this as well as other books on my blog here Oh, another book I signed up to read purely based on the cover and a little snippet of the blurb. I was sold at “creepy YA fantasy” as I am a total sucker for this kind of book. I actually think this book was pretty good in the end. I was unsure of it during the first maybe 50% as I just found the characters hard to like, you know? The writing style is nice and easy to read and it is so quick to get through. I actually read the first half of the book in one evening even though I wasn’t enjoying it all that much at first. In summary the book is about a young/teenage witch named Matilda (I really hate the name to be honest but that is probably just me). Matilda has a bit of a dark side, her dad left her and her mom and she is a bit of a mess really. She uses magic to be pretty horrible to people and is left with scars on her face with the names of those she has hurt. She would look pretty monstrous actually were it not for the fact that her family grimoire contains a spell to cover up those scars so no one knows that they are there. This only encourages her to do more nasty things to her classmates as she feels that there are no real repercussions for her actions. So based on that and her all around shitty attitude I didn’t like Matilda. As the story progresses however weird things start to happen, she starts to suffer from random blackouts, animals are found dead and then one of her classmates… all with her name written all over them. What!? So this had me intrigued enough to continue and find out what was going on. Matilda meets a boy called Oliver, they really hit it off but to me the relationship felt a bit stale and forced and I didn’t like the way he seemed to encourage Matilda and tell her she was basically right to punish people the way she does. The “twist” was a bit obvious in the end but fairly well written. I really enjoyed the ending and the way it felt like Matilda redeemed herself and took on the killer. I would have loved to see more of Nana May and a bit more magic to be honest. For a book about witches I was surprised by how little magic/casting there actually was. The pace was really fast and overall it was a fun read that had some spooky vibes and I think most fans of YA fantasy who are maybe looking for something quick to read would enjoy this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    RTC for blog tour. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for my review copy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brend

    If October was a book

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shelby

    *thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC via Netgalley 3.5 stars This was the perfect Halloween read with witchy vibes and I would recommend it for any fans of witchcraft this coming fall season. We follow Matilda in the days leading up to Halloween as there are mysterious and gruesome events seeming to be tied to her and the only person she can confide in is the new boy at school. This (as in horror or mystery novels) isn't usually my cup of tea, but MARK OF THE WICKED was interesting and i *thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC via Netgalley 3.5 stars This was the perfect Halloween read with witchy vibes and I would recommend it for any fans of witchcraft this coming fall season. We follow Matilda in the days leading up to Halloween as there are mysterious and gruesome events seeming to be tied to her and the only person she can confide in is the new boy at school. This (as in horror or mystery novels) isn't usually my cup of tea, but MARK OF THE WICKED was interesting and intriguing and not too scary, more just mysterious. I found it to be a bit slower paced than I would have liked so I did grow bored at times, but there was always something happening to Matilda that kept me curious, though I did solve the mystery before it was officially revealed. I really liked the talk of witchcraft in this book and the rules and history behind it in this specific town and in Matilda's lineage. Matilda was a morally gray main character and while I did enjoy following her, I didn't feel as connected to her and her story line as I would have liked. Like I said, this will give you all the witchy Halloween vibes and I recommend picking it up during the spooky season!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Evie

    3/5 stars In Mark of the Wicked, magic done for revenge or magic that harms others leaves a permanent mark on the witch after the spell is done. Matilda has a lot of her 'victim's' names carved into her face. She spells people into being her friend or boyfriend and spells anyone who is mean to her, betrays her, or she just flat out doesn't like. Then Oliver comes around - a learned witch who seems the perfect match for Matlida. But everything isn't perfect. Animals are dying around town with her 3/5 stars In Mark of the Wicked, magic done for revenge or magic that harms others leaves a permanent mark on the witch after the spell is done. Matilda has a lot of her 'victim's' names carved into her face. She spells people into being her friend or boyfriend and spells anyone who is mean to her, betrays her, or she just flat out doesn't like. Then Oliver comes around - a learned witch who seems the perfect match for Matlida. But everything isn't perfect. Animals are dying around town with her name carved on their sides and now her classmates are dying too. There is a decent amount of animal death/cruelty/etc. which made this hard for me to read. I had to skim over one chapter in particular that seemed like it was going to be heavy in that area. That was really what made this hard to read for me. It was a unique twist on magic and the villian and there are definitely some creepy moments.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    I loved the idea of this book but was not in love with the finished product. Matilda was kind of a boring character. She was never really "evil" enough to earn her marks, she was just a petty teenager. She was strangely naive to fall for the guy she did, the one we all saw coming from a mile away. Also, her hatred of her mother seemed very shallow, she hated her just because she loved her father (who abandoned her) more? Eh. What I would have loved instead is an Indiana Jones-esque novel about the I loved the idea of this book but was not in love with the finished product. Matilda was kind of a boring character. She was never really "evil" enough to earn her marks, she was just a petty teenager. She was strangely naive to fall for the guy she did, the one we all saw coming from a mile away. Also, her hatred of her mother seemed very shallow, she hated her just because she loved her father (who abandoned her) more? Eh. What I would have loved instead is an Indiana Jones-esque novel about the witch who collected all the grimoires and other paraphernalia she had collected over the years. The stories of her youth would be a great place to visit.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Célia Cross

    Thank you Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for sharing my honest review across my platforms and retailing sites. "My mom is always going on about balance and she's right about that at least; magic is like fire, pretty on a birthday cake but deadly if you set fire to something you shouldn't." Mark of the Wicked was a dark read in some parts, very contemporary in others. You can definitely tell it was Georgia Bowers' debut, but overall, it Thank you Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for sharing my honest review across my platforms and retailing sites. "My mom is always going on about balance and she's right about that at least; magic is like fire, pretty on a birthday cake but deadly if you set fire to something you shouldn't." Mark of the Wicked was a dark read in some parts, very contemporary in others. You can definitely tell it was Georgia Bowers' debut, but overall, it was well-written. Matilda, our main character, was annoying at first. She is mad that her mother sent her father away and abuses her magical abilities to be rebellious (her mother preaches that magic is only to be used when necessary). Matilda just wants to experience everything there is and is a ball of revenge and spite. She uses magic for her own gain and lives a life free of the consequences and scars of her wrongdoings due to a stolen spell from her family's grimoire. When a spell against her fake ex-best friend, Ashley, has her running through the school hallways, she runs into someone who catches her magic. Oliver already knows about magic though - and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda hang out more and more, strange things happen: Matilda experiences blackouts, dead animals with carvings on their bodies (pinning Matilda as a suspect), and then Ashley is found dead with the same markings. She isn't responsible though. As her magic seems to be draining, Matilda begins sleuthing for the truth and figuring out what makes a good witch exactly. She must figure it out before anything or anyone else turns up dead. The story was good. I enjoyed the mystery of who was behind the killings but was unhappy with how it was in the background of the story (the majority focused majorly on Oliver and Matilda's relationship). The twist of who was actually the culprit was obvious to me from the start and I picked up several phrases that were used over and over (I HATE repetition). In addition, I wasn't expecting the very contemporary setting with phones and cars and such. When I think of witches, despite them being real, I think fantasy - a cottage in the woods, just like how the Hollowell family lived. The characters were . . . meh. I honestly didn't care if any of them lived or died beside Nana May. Honestly, the ending was my favorite part because of all of how Matilda took on the killer. Overall, I was let down by this book due to the number of contemporary elements, the carelessness with the characters, repetition, and the predictability. The only saving graces of this book were the ending, Nana May, and the little magic it contained.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    First and foremost, do NOT go into this book thinking that you are going to be rooting for the main character of this story. Matilda is vengeful and brat that happens to have magical powers, and she needs a lesson in curving her reckless behaviour BADLY. Like all witches, magic comes with rules otherwise you pay the price (no personal gain, right?). Well, Matilda doesn't give a damn about the rules. Matilda is determined to get revenge on all of those who have wronged her because she found a work First and foremost, do NOT go into this book thinking that you are going to be rooting for the main character of this story. Matilda is vengeful and brat that happens to have magical powers, and she needs a lesson in curving her reckless behaviour BADLY. Like all witches, magic comes with rules otherwise you pay the price (no personal gain, right?). Well, Matilda doesn't give a damn about the rules. Matilda is determined to get revenge on all of those who have wronged her because she found a work around when it comes to that whole magic for personal gain thing...until it stops working. When Matilda and her new friend Oliver start to get in over their heads, Matilda must face the music so to speak before her magic racks up a body count. I'm always impressed when authors can write characters that get under my skin to the point that I want to come through the pages and throw the book at them in order for them to see the error of their ways. That's exactly what happens here with Matilda. That being said, I am a sucker for morally grey characters, so I felt drawn to Matilda's character and thoroughly enjoyed her arc throughout the book. While I don't agree with all of the decisions that she made, I think it made her a much more relatable character especially as a teenager. I really enjoyed the examination of witchcraft in this story. These witches felt more normalized versus the pomp and circumstance that you see surrounding a lot of stories where witches are involved. The author does a fantastic job of really digging into the details to make this an immersive and atmospheric read. If you're a mood or seasonal reader, I highly recommend this one for spooky season since these events transpire around that time. Overall, this was a really fantastic horror/mystery debut from Bowers with no shortage of magic and spookiness! Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    I like that more and more YA books are getting into the morally grey dark side of human personas. Mark of the Wicked is an interesting mix of witchy, ritualistic, mystery and murder. I have to applaud the author for the way witches are portrayed in this one. It didn’t seem as fantastical as some reads and leaned more towards magical realism mixed in with a contemporary mystery novel. The atmosphere is heavy on the shady side in more ways than one and tip-toes along the line of sinister and malev I like that more and more YA books are getting into the morally grey dark side of human personas. Mark of the Wicked is an interesting mix of witchy, ritualistic, mystery and murder. I have to applaud the author for the way witches are portrayed in this one. It didn’t seem as fantastical as some reads and leaned more towards magical realism mixed in with a contemporary mystery novel. The atmosphere is heavy on the shady side in more ways than one and tip-toes along the line of sinister and malevolent. Matilda was not the greatest character for me but considering she is supposed to be the type of character some love to hate or hate to love, well, I gotta admit that she totally fit the bill. I found her petty, childish and basically naïve through a lot of the book. The magic system is probably my favorite aspect. There is a lot of depth in the history and lineage of the MC that I found creative. I struggled a bit with the animal death/cruelty though not to the point that it affected my rating, there is a good bit of it though. Just something that may need to be mentioned for other readers. I was getting sluggish more times than I care to admit due to lengthy and repetitive portions. However, for a debut I can see the promise of even better novels to come, definitely atmospheric talent in the prose. I enjoyed my first step into Bowers writing and look forward to more of her work. There is a small part of me that is secretly begging for a novella for Nana May, holy heck did I adore her character! Thank you to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Fierce Reads and NetGalley for the gifted digital copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts are my own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review Mark of the Wicked follows Matilda, a witch who uses her magic for revenge on those who’ve wronged her. After a spell goes wrong, she meets Oliver, who knows about her magic. Matilda starts to be haunted by strange things happening: she experiences blackouts, dead animals keep showing up, and a girl dies. Matilda needs to find out what is going on, and if she’s causing it. This book sounded so amazing to m Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review Mark of the Wicked follows Matilda, a witch who uses her magic for revenge on those who’ve wronged her. After a spell goes wrong, she meets Oliver, who knows about her magic. Matilda starts to be haunted by strange things happening: she experiences blackouts, dead animals keep showing up, and a girl dies. Matilda needs to find out what is going on, and if she’s causing it. This book sounded so amazing to me. First of all, witches are always a plus. But I also think that in the modern age, it would be pretty realistic that some witches would use their magic to hurt people and I was very interested to explore that in this book. That aspect of the book did not disappoint at all. However, throughout the entire book, I just found Matilda to be rude and cruel most of the time. She has done entirely unredeemable things throughout her life. The other characters in the book also fall flat for me. The romance between Matilda and Oliver is very forced and they have zero chemistry. I really don’t have a favorite character. The plot was very predictable. However, I enjoyed exploring the witch magic system, which was a main element in the plot. While I didn’t have a problem with the writing, the pacing was a bit messy at times. The book was really hard to get into and I considered DNFing it at the 40% mark. While I didn’t like the premise’s execution, I did enjoy the author’s unique writing style. It holds potential that leaves me interested to see some of Bowers’ future work. Overall, if you like stories about witches and anti-heroes, you may enjoy Mark of the Wicked.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Frank Chillura (OhYouRead)

    I am always down to read a Witchy book. Especially when it leads me into Fall, which btw, is my second favorite time of year…. Behind Winter. Even though I live in Florida and it’s always Summer here. Georgia Bowers has created a world that feels new and refreshing, but also like a comfortable sweater that I love to cuddle into. I could feel her love for all things witchy while reading Mark of the Wicked. The little references to “Fairuza”, which is an off page cat in the book and the real name I am always down to read a Witchy book. Especially when it leads me into Fall, which btw, is my second favorite time of year…. Behind Winter. Even though I live in Florida and it’s always Summer here. Georgia Bowers has created a world that feels new and refreshing, but also like a comfortable sweater that I love to cuddle into. I could feel her love for all things witchy while reading Mark of the Wicked. The little references to “Fairuza”, which is an off page cat in the book and the real name of the bad witch in The Craft, as well as nods to Hocus Pocus and some that I’m sure even I didn’t pick up on. There were ups and downs in the book that kept me on the edge of my seat, but TBH I knew who the villain was from the beginning. I didn’t get that AHA! moment in a mystery where the MC finds out. It was too easy. Make me work for it!! I loved the characters so much, especially Nanny May. Even though she didn’t speak more than two words for the entirety of the book (because of a spell), you get that Grandmotherly love throughout. She was there attempting to help Matilda the whole time. I really loved the world and hope that we get another book in it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Mark of the Wicked is overall a fantastic debut. I loved the complex characters and the compelling dynamics between characters. the world and the magic were fascinating to me and felt completely natural and believable. The writing was also amazing for a debut author. I enjoyed the plot overall, though I felt like one of the plot twists was a little too obvious before the reveal. Still, on the whole it is a good, solid story. I’d recommend Mark of the Wicked to any urban fantasy fans, or anyone t Mark of the Wicked is overall a fantastic debut. I loved the complex characters and the compelling dynamics between characters. the world and the magic were fascinating to me and felt completely natural and believable. The writing was also amazing for a debut author. I enjoyed the plot overall, though I felt like one of the plot twists was a little too obvious before the reveal. Still, on the whole it is a good, solid story. I’d recommend Mark of the Wicked to any urban fantasy fans, or anyone that wants a book about morally grey witches. My full review can be found here

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    3.5/5 stars: Mark of the Wicked is a story that has major Sabrina the Teenaged Witch vibes, a story about a ruthless teenaged witch who finds herself getting a taste of her own medicine. Matilda is dark, snarky and the very definition of morally grey. I thought that it was a really interesting journey that Matilda had to go through in this book as she struggles with discovering the identity of who is trying to frame her for murder only to discover a cutting betrayal of someone close to her. I th 3.5/5 stars: Mark of the Wicked is a story that has major Sabrina the Teenaged Witch vibes, a story about a ruthless teenaged witch who finds herself getting a taste of her own medicine. Matilda is dark, snarky and the very definition of morally grey. I thought that it was a really interesting journey that Matilda had to go through in this book as she struggles with discovering the identity of who is trying to frame her for murder only to discover a cutting betrayal of someone close to her. I thought that the dynamic between Oliver and Matilda was really fun to watch and the twists and turns in this story were quite gratifying. This is one of those stories where you really don't know who you can trust. The small town feel and the autumn vibes of the setting gave this book a spooky and atmospheric feel to it. I also felt that the female relationships for Matilda with her family and her friends were both complex yet well formed and created a community that is at the heart of this book. I thought this was a really solid and witchy debut. My reason for this rating was that this book didn't really floor me the way 4 star or 5 star books tend to do, but it wasn't a bad read. Mark of the Wicked is a story about consequences, and how our mistakes can either mark us permanently, or offer a chance at redemption.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Noelle

    A fantastic debut! Mark of the Wicked is a fab book with fresh angles on witchcraft. I love that there are consequences to using witchcraft for personal gain or purposefully hurting another person. that was fresh and original and upped the stakes of the conflict. Main Character Matilda is not likeable when we first meet her, but as the story moves along, we end up forgiving for her and rooting for her. There were quite a few twists and turns that kept me guessing and I can't wait to read more fr A fantastic debut! Mark of the Wicked is a fab book with fresh angles on witchcraft. I love that there are consequences to using witchcraft for personal gain or purposefully hurting another person. that was fresh and original and upped the stakes of the conflict. Main Character Matilda is not likeable when we first meet her, but as the story moves along, we end up forgiving for her and rooting for her. There were quite a few twists and turns that kept me guessing and I can't wait to read more from this author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Dabu

    .We follow a young witch Matilda that is rebelling against tradition. Sinister events seem to be her dark ways catching up to her and she’s got some major choices to make. Mark of the Wicked was like all my favorite witchy movies wrapped up in a YA novel. Even with being a YA book, it managed to have a lot of grit and some pretty gruesome, witchy scenes. Legends, lore and loyalty are the main themes of this wonderful witchy book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For Matilda Hollowell, magic has left its lasting mark. Like all witches, doing harm has left the names of her many victims etched into the skin of her face and neck. Able to hide the marks on her skin, Matilda has her sight set on popularity and revenge. Enter Oliver. When Matilda tries to cast a love spell on her handsome new schoolmate, he catches her. Oliver is a witch himself and the closer they get, the more weird things that happen. Animals dead, carved with her name, weird visions and a For Matilda Hollowell, magic has left its lasting mark. Like all witches, doing harm has left the names of her many victims etched into the skin of her face and neck. Able to hide the marks on her skin, Matilda has her sight set on popularity and revenge. Enter Oliver. When Matilda tries to cast a love spell on her handsome new schoolmate, he catches her. Oliver is a witch himself and the closer they get, the more weird things that happen. Animals dead, carved with her name, weird visions and a dead classmate who everyone believes she killed. With her magic dimming, Matilda must find out who is framing her for dark magic and just how far she’ll go to clear her name. Year of the witch continues in Georgia Bower’s YA fantasy debut. The book has a great plot concept: magic leaves lasting marks when enacted at the expense of another. That said, while I understand that this is a fictional world and reality, the continued push of covens over individual practice and the perceived importance of lineage witches over learned really bothered me as someone who is a witch. The concept and practice of magick in the book was good, with herbal and crystal correspondences. But solitary witchcraft is just as valid as being part of a coven and no matter the path to the Craft, any witch can be powerful. Pushing a narrative that says otherwise invalidates a lot of practitioners, even in a fictional setting. Matilda as a character is hard to like. Immature, selfish, quick to pass fault on her choices to everyone around her. She develops quite a bit as a character, but still not enough to be likeable. Her perceived importance as a lineage witch over the learned witches was irritating and I don’t think she grew up enough to earn her ending path. As for Oliver, I had him pegged by his third appearance. I wish there had been more build up to his reveal. There were a lot of side plot lines that didn’t make sense. Matilda and Lottie’s friction, which was never fully addressed or resolved in a satisfying way. Lottie’s pregnancy. Nanna May’s curse didn’t get enough attention. Matilda’s father was addressed frequently and still didn’t feel fully developed and resolved. I wanted less side plot, more focus on the main plot. This was an ambitious debut that just didn’t live up to expectation. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I was so excited to get an advance copy of Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers. The premise sounded so good. The reality, however, was much different. I hated the lead character, Matilda. She was bratty and immature. She never seemed to grow as a person. This just really fell flat for me. Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Stankewitz

    *Thank you to Swoon Reads, Georgia Bowers and Netgalley for providing me with an EARC of "Mark of The Wicked" in exchange for an honest review.* This was a excellent spooky read with a morally grey protagonist (which we really need more of on YA). I really like how the magic was set up as well. *Thank you to Swoon Reads, Georgia Bowers and Netgalley for providing me with an EARC of "Mark of The Wicked" in exchange for an honest review.* This was a excellent spooky read with a morally grey protagonist (which we really need more of on YA). I really like how the magic was set up as well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Mark of the Wicked Author: Georgia Bowers Book Series: Standalone Rating: 3/5 Recommended For...: witches, young adult readers, fantasy, magical realism, horror, paranormal Publication Date: August 10, 2021 Genre: YA Magical Realism Recommended Age: 16+ (Animal Death, Violence, Gore, Romance, Scars TW) Explanation of CWs: Animal Death plays a huge role in this book and it did upset me. There is also romance, whic Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Mark of the Wicked Author: Georgia Bowers Book Series: Standalone Rating: 3/5 Recommended For...: witches, young adult readers, fantasy, magical realism, horror, paranormal Publication Date: August 10, 2021 Genre: YA Magical Realism Recommended Age: 16+ (Animal Death, Violence, Gore, Romance, Scars TW) Explanation of CWs: Animal Death plays a huge role in this book and it did upset me. There is also romance, which plays a big role in the book, and the MC has scars on her from spells, but please be weary if that’s a trigger of yours. Publisher: Swoon Reads Pages: 352 Synopsis: Magic always leaves its mark. All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn't interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds. When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic - and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn't responsible -- at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth...before anyone else turns up dead. Review: For the most part I thought this book was ok. I loved the idea behind it and I thought that the book had a great idea behind it. The plot was fairly solid and the world building was good. I also really liked how dark it was. However, this book was so so slow and I struggled so hard to get through it because of how slow it was. I think, if sped up, the book would probably be about 150 pages, so I’d love to see more written. I also thought the characters were not well developed and kind of flat on the page. I also did not appreciate the dead animals. Verdict: It’s good, just not for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Rideout

    I was granted eARC access to Mark of the Wicked via NetGalley as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest. In a version of our world where witches exist and those who hurt others with their spells are doomed to wear the names of their victims as scars on their faces forever, a teenaged witch with a rare concealment charm has many such nasty scars hidden beneath a painful glam I was granted eARC access to Mark of the Wicked via NetGalley as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest. In a version of our world where witches exist and those who hurt others with their spells are doomed to wear the names of their victims as scars on their faces forever, a teenaged witch with a rare concealment charm has many such nasty scars hidden beneath a painful glamour. When a handsome young male witch moves to her school and falls in love with her without the aid of a love potion, it seems like things are finally going right, but nothing is at it seems and Matilda's life is about to get a whole lot more dangerous. I loved this book! This is a fresh take on teenaged witches, and the plot had me on the edge of my seat with every turn of the page. Bowers writes such compelling, empathetic characters that I loved exactly who she wanted me to love, hated and suspected exactly who she wanted me to hate or suspect, and fell for every single red herring. Normally when I read YA books with mystery elements to them I report that I saw through everything misdirect as if it were a cozy mystery, but that's not the case in this one. This book is full of so many twists and turns and I saw exactly one of them coming. I'm sincerely baffled by the fact that the average rating on Goodreads at the time of writing this review is under 4.0 because this is a fantastic debut and far more complex than I've come to expect from YA these days. There is blood and gore and a whole lot of dark and borderline-dark magic going on, so I feel it would be best labelled as YA *Dark Fantasy, but it was all handled tastefully and nothing was unnecessary. This book is full of failed and repaired relationships, coming-of-age hurdles, familial reconciliation, and found-family themes, and I love the combination. Add in the paranormal mystery aspect, and it's gold. Content Warnings: body horror, animal cruelty, dark magic If you like magic, mystery, and explorations of the darker side of what it is to be human, this book is a must read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    With dark tones in every corner, this is a tale which lures in and keeps the tension high. Matilda is a witch, and although she's only a junior in high school, she already wears the scars of the names of the many people she's injured with her magic. Unlike many witches, though, her family has a spell to hide the names etched in their skin. Just when she adds another name to her collection, she meets a boy, who not only dabbles in witchcraft himself, but also wants to be her friend. But dead anima With dark tones in every corner, this is a tale which lures in and keeps the tension high. Matilda is a witch, and although she's only a junior in high school, she already wears the scars of the names of the many people she's injured with her magic. Unlike many witches, though, her family has a spell to hide the names etched in their skin. Just when she adds another name to her collection, she meets a boy, who not only dabbles in witchcraft himself, but also wants to be her friend. But dead animals are showing up everywhere, and her home situation is more than rocky. Add her upcoming birthday, which marks her adulthood as a witch...and romance seems to be more than just a simple impossibility. This is a well-woven tale with more than a few dark secrets and mysteries. Matilda is already an edgy character, whose attitude toward magic and others makes her hard to like. She uses magic for her benefit, regardless of the consequences...and yet, the author still manages to make her somewhat sympathetic. Matilda knows she's on a bad path but struggles with several personal issues. While she does some terrible things, it's hard not to feel pity and hope she finds the light at the end of the tunnel. The character arc in this one is clear and well done. Matilda has a lot to learn and a rough journey ahead of her. The characters around her are also well laid out and have as many secrets and gray areas as the plot itself. There are some huge twists in this one...some which I did see coming but still enjoyed. And there are enough side tales to add a little depth. I did have a hard time, sometimes, picturing Matilda and her friends as upper classmen in high school, though, since they often came across more as older middle graders in their actions, speech and thoughts. But the story and the plot are definitely solid YA themes. It's an easy read with lots of surprises, magic and the darkness of a gothic read. I had no trouble reading this in one sitting and did enjoy it for the most part. I received an ARC copy and was grabbed in by the tale.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours, Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. This was an enjoyable fall/Halloween read! It made me really want it to be fall now because of how strong the vibes were in the book. Matilda is an interesting character who isn’t exactly likeable and has a lot of flaws. She is very vengeful and doesn’t seem like the best person to be around. She also has an extreme hatred f Thank you TBR and Beyond Tours, Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free digital copy of this book for exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. This was an enjoyable fall/Halloween read! It made me really want it to be fall now because of how strong the vibes were in the book. Matilda is an interesting character who isn’t exactly likeable and has a lot of flaws. She is very vengeful and doesn’t seem like the best person to be around. She also has an extreme hatred for her mom and doesn’t seem to act great to her grandmother most of the time as well. However at times, she also seems a little too trusting (see: Oliver). The storyline was good but the plot didn’t live up for me. I was able to see the kind of big twist that appears around half way very early on in the book and was hoping that it wasn’t going to turn out the way it did. The storyline had a lot of promise to it but I did feel like some things fell short and were never fully addressed as well as they should have been. About half way I did feel myself starting to lose interest and the second half of the book just wasn't it for me. The thing I liked most about this novel was definitely the setting and Bowers’ ability to create a world I could visualize so easy. At first I was a little confused about when this took place as it seemed to be maybe 1950s-80s at first (mainly the the name Matilda and just the first chapter gave that impression) but as it went on, there were lots of mentions of phones that made it obvious it was contemporary. I think the 1950s or so vibe would have been really cool. But besides that, I enjoyed the setting and wish I could see the Witching Well Festival and the cottage in person as I could really see them. Overall, enjoyable for a debut.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Welcome to the world of what it means to be a teenage witch! Matilda is a lineage witch, and she’s no good girl either. She’s perfectly morally grey, and has the scars to prove it, even if you can’t see them. But strange things start happening around Gravewick, things that keep pointing towards Matilda. And who can you trust when you’re a witch, right? Mark of the Wicked starts off as a medium paced story, getting readers familiar with this interesting take on witchcraft and who Matilda is- and m Welcome to the world of what it means to be a teenage witch! Matilda is a lineage witch, and she’s no good girl either. She’s perfectly morally grey, and has the scars to prove it, even if you can’t see them. But strange things start happening around Gravewick, things that keep pointing towards Matilda. And who can you trust when you’re a witch, right? Mark of the Wicked starts off as a medium paced story, getting readers familiar with this interesting take on witchcraft and who Matilda is- and maybe how petty she is too, before turning into a full on, fast paced witchy mystery with death, horrific visions that will absolutely leave you on the edge of your seat wanting more. The story follows Matilda and has a wicked build up to Halloween, when you just know something big is going to go down, I mean the anticipation was brutal! There are a handful of characters (some you don’t get to know until the end) and I wanted to love them, but I was so leery of their motives and how they were involved in what was happening. (And let me just brag and say my fictional character gut instinct was spot on, if I do say so myself.) Mark of the Wicked is one intense mystery, and some of those visions Matilda was having are definitely creepy and slightly gory. I loved it honestly! And of course there’s a feel-good ending with just the right amount of character anxiety for the future. I assume this is a standalone, but I wouldn’t be mad if a sequel popped up. If you like YA Horror, witches and dark magic, and can handle the content warnings of death/animal harm/body horror- this is a read you don’t want to miss!

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