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Fantasy Friday: The Raven Spell by Luanne G. Smith

In Victorian England, a witch and a detective are on the hunt for a serial killer in an enthralling novel of magic and murder by the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Vine Witch.

After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.

To help piece together Ian’s lost time, he and Edwina embark on a journey that will take them from the river foreshore to an East End music hall, and on to a safe house for witches in need of sanctuary from angry mortals. The clues they find suggest a link between a series of gruesome murders, a missing person’s case, and a dreadful suspicion that threatens to tear apart the bonds of sisterhood. As the investigation deepens, could Ian and Edwina be the next to die?

Amazon Link: The Raven Spell (A Conspiracy of Magic #1)

Author: Luanne G. Smith

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars

Mysteries are common in urban fantasy, so it was interesting to see this type of plot reimagined into a different time. The fogbound setting reminded of a Victorian gothic novel. But in style, it was more like a cozy mystery at first with the relationship between the two sisters and their little shop of found trinkets.

The story meandered for a while as the two sisters tried to avoid the stranger they had encountered on the riverbank. Edwina decided to help him out of guilt, and then the mystery began to unravel. Edwina was also trying to protect her sister from suspicion. I admired her because she was loyal to her sister after everyone else had abandoned them. That felt more powerful than the mild attraction between Edwina and the detective.

But the tone of the story changed when a rift began to grow between the sisters and then there was an abrupt twist. I didn’t like the ending. It felt too absolute. And there wasn’t enough interesting details about the world that made me want to continue with the story.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.