Book Review: When My Heart Was Wicked by Tricia Stirling

Lacy Fin is a sixteen year old Gemini equally made up of light and dark magic. For the past three years Lacy has been living in the light with her Dad and stepmom Anna but before that with dyed black hair and thick black eyeliner Lacy was drawn into the dark by her Mom Cheyenne. As a budding botanist, Lacy has worked hard to find the pure healing magic in nature, using the herbs from her garden to make healing teas and tinctures. When her Dad abruptly dies of prostate cancer, Cheyenne regains custody of Lacy sending on her on a downward spiral abusing the laws of nature and casting revenge spells on her cruel classmates. Lacy must overcome outside influences to decided what kind of person she wants to be.

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Wicked is Stirling’s first novel and overall the story is entertaining – it’s fast paced and includes a loving cat named Mr. Murm! I liked that Lacy loved science – botany, biology, and chemistry – the story is peppered with her ‘random herbal facts’. While brainy, Lacy unfortunately suffers from the ‘I’m so plain and ugly’ syndrome when she clearly isn’t. The storyline is a little jumpy as scenes fluctuate between the past and the present but the reader comes to better understand Lacy as you learn about her fractured childhood between her separated parents. The story is incredibly short (less than 200 pages). I think the novel could have easily been twice as long with the story and characters fleshed out a bit more. I especially would have liked to see some of the more crucial scenes lengthened. The ending (like Mr. Fin’s demise) is sudden. I almost thought the book would have a sequel with how few pages there were left but then not so much.

Overall I did enjoy the story and I will be interested to see what the future holds for Ms. Stirling whose descriptive writing was beautiful. I received an ARC of When My Heart was Wicked from the Little Shop of Stories bookstore in Decatur, GA.

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