Book Review – Pleasantwick by M.L. Stoughton

Book Title: Pleasantwick
Indie Author: M.L. Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult/ Urban Fantasy/ Coming of Age
Length: 316 page full-length novel
Price: $2.99 (Kindle Edition) or FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Book Synopsis:

Pleasantwick is a Young Adult/Coming of Age story that centers on 16-year old Melinda Richardson.  Melinda’s father has recently invested in a piece of land which holds the ancient Sotheby House, est 1710.  Melinda is instantly drawn to the house and spends a lot of her time there, especially wandering the woods nearby and swimming in a water hole.  It is there that she meets the mysterious yet charming Luke Sotheby, who she is instantly drawn to.
Luke Sotheby comes from a long line of witches, each with common and unique, magical gifts, who live in a secret world called Pleasantwick.  One of the portals to this secret community exists right there in Sotheby House, which Melinda happens to find one day while exploring the seemingly empty and deserted home.
Luke comes to Melinda’s rescue one day when her boyfriend, Jason, starts acting strange and begins threatening her in the woods.  Melinda begins noticing a change in Jason since he’s been hanging out with a questionable crowd of people.  This group also happens to be residents of Pleasantwick, a group of witches called Lythanons, who feel that Pleasantwick is not a community made to keep them safe from the common world, but instead serves as a prison of sorts that they must escape from and destroy.  They’ve set out to recruit people in the common world to aid them in their battle.
Luke finds himself torn between his growing feelings for Melinda and his family and home when the war begins between Wickers and Lythanons, which not only threatens to destroy Pleasantwick, but also spills out into the common world.

My Review

3.5 STARS (Rounded up to 4)
What worked:
This was a fun story with some interesting aspects.  I liked that there was a lot of action scenes in this book that I could really picture as they were happening.  The action was awesome!  I also liked how, while the book was mostly focused around Melinda and Luke, we also got to follow the story line with some of the other characters from time to time.  One scene, in particular, reminded me of a scene out of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones (you know the scene, when the Shadow Hunters go into Pandemonium in pursuit of a demon, which Clary happens to witness as they kill).  This scene followed a group of Wickers, including Luke, as they went undercover to track down and kill a group of  Lythanons.
I also liked the back story we got of how Pleasantwick was created, following the story of the four witch sisters several hundred years ago.  Switching back and forth between different timelines for a while was a good way to alternate the story, and I was able to clearly tell when it was about one time versus the other.
I appreciated the slow building of the relationship between Melinda and Luke.  It wasn’t “insta-love” which was much more realistic.  It built in some conflict as Luke warred with his feelings and his sense of duty to his family and world.
I loved the part in the story about one of the characters in Pleasantwick, Cora, and her amethyst.  I could see how the author could write another book with Cora and the elders who made appearances in this book.  That would be a fascinating read, I think.
I also liked how we got a few little snippets here and there with the antagonist, Devaris, and his mother.  It went a long way in building his credibility as a worthy opponent for the Wickers.
What could use some work:
What I would have really liked to see more of in this book was more character development.  Now that I’m done reading it, I find that I still know very little about the characters themselves.
I would have also liked to see a little more info at the end of the book.  I felt like there were some loose-ends that did not get tied up, for example the character of Cora.  Where did she go during a certain point in the book, and what was her reasoning for Melinda coming into possession of the amethyst?
I would also like to know what Melinda eventually did with the knowledge of her past that came to light at the end of the book, and how that will affect her future.  An epilogue set maybe a couple of years in the future could have really sealed things up nicely, I think, and as I mentioned, maybe another book focusing on Cora and the elders who made appearances in this book.
Overall, it was a good read.  The action and the feelings between Melinda and Luke are what made this book work for me.

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Book Lover, author, aunt, and dog mom.

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