A Hive of Secrets and Spells by Ellen Jane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Full disclosure, I have not read the first book in this series. That being said though, it isn’t required but it would increase appreciation of certain references and character relationships. I didn’t feel like I was missing or not understanding things as I read.
This was a fun mystery read. I genuinely had no guess about “who-dun-it” the whole way through.
The main character Heather was interesting and I enjoyed following her through the story. I don’t feel like I got to know her girlfriend Sinéad as well, but I attribute that to not having read the previous book. She was still also interesting. We also get to meet several new people in this story as well whom I liked a great deal. (Not mentioning names for spoiler reasons.)
I do admit for a bit the mystery aspect seemed a wee bit convoluted. There was a lot happening and a lot of names floating around at once. I would get a little disoriented a couple of times, but the author does a pretty good job of stepping back with the characters to keep sorting through information and take us a step closer to the answers.
Overall a fun read if you enjoy mysteries without much attention to things like romance. If given the opportunity, I would do yourself a favor and pick up book 1 first.
This story was a fun mystery romp with a small amount of romance thrown into the mix. This being the second book of a series, the main character Heather and her girlfriend Sinéad meet and fall in love in the first book. This story is enjoyable on it’s own with it’s own self-contained story line. I do feel I would have enjoyed this great deal more if I had read the previous one. There are references to events and people that are featured there that, while they don’t make the story confusing at all, I would have appreciated them more.
These books take place in a fictional world where magic, witches and sorcerers are common place. Magic and the way it is practices takes on many unique forms. I really enjoyed this aspect and feel very drawn to the idea of reading previous and future books in the series because of it.
Full Review with Spoilers
This book exclusively follows Heather, who is a witch that specializes in baking magic. I admit, this character trait was interesting, but not emphasized as much as I had expected it to. It didn’t take anything away from the story and magic was still a very central element. Heather was a well written character with lots of personality. Through the course of the story she looses a voicemail from her now deceased parents. She is devastated, but this opens up a personal growth subplot that I found very interesting.
I was a little overwhelmed with the overall plot. Sinéad receives a letter starting that her birth parents, whom she had never known, have been kidnapped and the kidnappers need what was taken returned to them. Additionally, Sinéad also meets the brother she never had as the siblings were separated in the orphanage when they were children. I feel these elements should have had a more emotional impact to me, but it really just didn’t and I can only assume part of that is not having read the previous book. The mystery elements of the story were also a little all over the place. There was a lot going on at once which kept both me and the characters in the dark until Heather started finally putting the pieces together, though I was clueless until the very end. The magic aspect of the story made it easy to introduce elements that seemingly made no sense at first and make it more or less impossible for the reader to figure out. There was a rather large amount of characters and names involved as well that I had a little trouble keeping organized as I read, again until the end.
Sinéad’s brother Cian was a fantastic character. He had a fun and quirky personality that balanced her more serious nature. He was also a perfect plot device to help Heather fix issues with her investigation business that arise from the first book.
Overall, it was a fun read, the characters are the driving factor and I enjoyed getting to know each of them. It had it’s issue with the plot, but worth getting to know the cast of characters.
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