I have a very special bookish recommendation for this spooky season.
The Bloodwitch series is a trauma-informed LGBTQ+ dark fantasy series written by my dear friend and fellow indie author Lily Rooke. The content of these books must not be taken lightly and i highly recommend to check the trigger warnings before starting. If you’re not opposed to any of those, you will fall in love with this story.
Why? Let’s get to my reviews below!
The Dying Light (reviewed on November 27, 2021)
“Pain like this needs to be held in gentle hands.”
This quote from The Dying Light is the perfect representation of this beautiful dark fantasy novel. Charlie’s story is not an easy one. His traumatic past, that he struggles to leave behind, keeps coming for him and pushes him to start a journey that will make him face both the darkness of the world around him and the one he silently carries inside.
I felt incredibly close to this boy right from the start, seeing the world through his eyes. Hardship, pain and fear are a constant in his life, but Charlie is incredibly brave, and always tries his hardest, no matter how the odds may be against him. His journey is filled with danger and beatifully cafted twists that glued me to the page, but this book is so much more than that: the relationships that form between the main cast are the true heart of this story.
Charlie, who’s lived all his life cofronting loss, finally finds a new home in the most unexpected, darkest places, connecting with people whose hearts resonate with his.
This book is a gem under every point of view: the writing is full of magic, the characters are genuine and true, the story compelling and emotional. I literally can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out.
I need these kids to be happy!
We Become Shadows (Reviewed on August 3, 2022)
“Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness”
Goodreads, I lied to you; I actually finished this book weeks ago, but I wasn’t done with it emotionally and needed some time to let all the thoughts and feelings sink in.
It’s hard to write a proper review avoiding spoilers (there are twists every few chaprters from the very beginning) but what I can say is that this is a book that will surely stay with me forever.
Yes, it is a fantasy novel, and there’s action and magic and witches, but it’s also so much more. We Become Shadows is the perfect sequel to The Dying Light, and it’s a deep and painful journey through trauma and hope; it talks about recovery, about trying and failing, about being misunderstood when you truly mean well and not being able to explain it. It’s about the little voice in your head that tells you that even if you tried to explain, nobody would understand. And then it’s about the people who listen and do understand, despite everything.
This second installment in the series shows how confused Charlie is trying to find a new path for himself. Who is he, really? Is he still Charlie, after everything that happened in book 1? Is he Zuriel? Is he the dangerous and cursed Bloodwitch? Charlie feelis like he has to take responsibility for all these titles when, if the world just let him, he could just simply be Vasco’s boyfriend.
And Vasco, oh, Vasco… he’s a gem. He’s grown so much since The Dying Light, he’s understood a lot about himself and Charlie, and throughout the story, he’s the one that reaches out to all the other characters to help them interact, communicate and understand each other. He’s patient and kind, and total boyfriend material!
I need the sequel as soon as possible!!!
What lies behind this series is so important, I wish more people would find it. Lily is a wonderful author and an amazing person, and they are a master at diving into trauma and giving hope to the reader. Last but not least, they are donating all proceeds from the sale of their books to charities supporting survivors of child sexual abuse.
Lily’s review of When we were out of the ordinary can be found here! Thank you for your kind words and your friendship, Lily!