Fairyloot Adult #7: Spells for Forgetting

Originally, Fairyloot’s focus was on Young-Adult Fantasy books, but that changed in 2022 with the launch of their Adult Fantasy Book-Only subscription. As a subscriber to their regular YA subscription, I was given priority to sign up for this new service, and as a book and fantasy enthusiast, I simply couldn’t resist.

September was already the seventh box of this subscription! Time flies. The theme of the month was Small Town Secrets which reminds me of a contemporary romantic story rather than a fantasy novel.

And I was kind of right about that, because the book of the month is Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young.

Once again, Fairyloot stayed fairly faithful to the original cover, with only a few changes. For example, the colours seem a bit more saturated and Fairyloot opted for multi-coloured fireworks. The font is also slightly more stylized with more swoops and curls.
All in all, a modest modification, but an effective one in my opinion.

Underneath the cover is a hard cover in a beautiful forest green, with an illustration in gold foil on the front.
The edges have been beautifully repainted with a design taken from the cover. Unique this time is that this is not only on the front, but really on the 3 edges around the book. Very nice!
Inside, the endpapers have been replaced by illustrations of the two main characters from the book. It is a pity that this time the book is not really signed by the author, but there is a separate signature on sticker paper that you can stick in yourself.

Very nice edition I think, especially the painted edges steal the show! But what about the content?
I really try to read these new additions to my bookcase in a timely manner and in January I did a little catching up as this was already the second book I read from this subscription service. I read this book 3.5 months after receiving it. I’m actually starting to catch up with reading these books!

Adrienne Young – Spells for Forgetting ★★★

Genre: Fantasy

A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.

But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.

August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.

The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.

Spells for Forgetting was a fun, compelling and extremely atmospheric read, that unfortunately left me disappointed in the story development and especially the ending.

First of all, to me this book was more of a mystery with some fantastic/witchy elements than a true fantasy. I found the blurb to be a tad bit misleading in that sense, because the magical element is ultimately very underexplored. It’s there, but rather to make the story more mysterious than magical.

The best thing about this book for me really was the feeling it evoked while reading.
It was engrossing and engulfed me in a feeling of enchantment. I really loved the atmosphere and the setting. The claustrophobic feel of a small town, which was strengthened still by it being set on an island. A place where the same families have lived for generations and where everyone knows everyone. Resentments and old wounds have been left to fester, tensions have been mounted over generations, creating a perpetual state of unease and foreboding.
This more than anything hooked me to keep reading. It reminded me in a way of TV shows like Vampire Diaries or Riverdale.

The story itself was also rather similar to that type of TV show. At first it was very fascinating and irresistible.
Very mysterious, with little revelations urging me to keep reading, because I needed to find out what was going on.
For a large part I really enjoyed the ride. I loved the slow reveals, the added tension, the looming feeling of things racing towards an inevitable dramatic climax.

However, when that climax fails to deliver something really special, it often makes you look back on your previous enjoyment differently. Unfortunately, this is the case for me with Spells for Forgetting.
Not only did I find the ending extremely rushed, the revelations at the end were just a bit too dramatic and implausible for my taste. It truly committed to the soapy-feel of those tv-shows. A lot of drama for little substance. Kind of like candy you can eat by the handful because it tastes so good, but in the end just leaves you uncomfortable and unsatisfied.

In the epilogue, the author tried to recreate a little bit of the ominous atmosphere that had been so successfully created in the beginning, but it just didn’t work for me. If anything, it just felt cheap.

Overall, the title prophesied my feelings for this story. Fun while it lasted, but overall quite forgettable.