The Price Guide to the Occult

The Price Guide to the Occult

by Leslye Walton

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From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780763693909
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 68,498
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Leslye Walton was named a William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist for the publication of her debut novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Born in the Pacific Northwest, she has an MA in writing. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

Leslye Walton was born in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps because of this, she has developed a strange kinship with the daffodil. She too can only achieve beauty after a long, cold sulk in the rain. Her novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, was inspired by a particularly long sulk in a particularly cold rainstorm.

Leslye Walton currently lives in Seattle, Washington, where she spends most of her time in her own world—which, for the record, is far better than the real one anyway—with her fittingly-named Chihuahua, Mr. Darcy, and her spirit guide, a cat named Griff.

When she’s not writing, she teaches middle-school students how to read and write, and most importantly, how to be kind to one anther, even when they really don’t feel like it.

Leslye works best under the light of the moon, and will often wake her friends in the middle of the night to ask if they know another word for vivacious or if they remember what the guy sitting behind them at dinner last Tuesday ordered for dessert. Fortunately, Leslye has very forgiving friends.

Three Things You Might Not Know About Leslye:

1. When Leslye was younger, she wanted to be a singer, a writer, a teacher, or a mermaid, in that order. Hey, three outta four ain’t bad!
2. Oh yeah. Leslye also sings (see above), though these days it’s primarily in the shower, or the car, or when she can convince talented students to accompany her on the guitar.
3. She has a pair of wings tattooed on her left wrist that she got when she learned The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was going to be an actual book. She plans on memorializing each book with a tattoo. So far she has six tattoos . . . and one published book. Oops. Looks like she has some catching up to do!

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The Price Guide to the Occult 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
The Price Guide to the Occult is a dark fabulistic tale about a girl whose family comes from a long line of witches who settled on the island, and the burden of her legacy. Rona has been living with her grandmother since her mom left her after nearly killing her for ritualistic sacrifice, trying to have a normal life but still scarred from her childhood as is evident by her propensity for self-harm. But her life is disrupted when her mother seems to be making a homecoming, with a new book that capitalizes on the family magic, promising great spells for an adoring audience. The magic system of this book is slightly unique in that every witch has one particular sort of magic and practicing outside that is considered black magic; the Blackburns have also been cursed to have miserable love lives, and entwined in the curse are another founding family of the island. Rona's life has been impacted by her mother's ambition since childhood, when her mother tried to use her blood for black magic so that she could trap the guy she loved in a spell that would keep him compliant. Rona, determined to be the opposite of everything her mother was, is fearful of any powers she may have, and wants to live a normal life. She starts from a place of fear with regards to her mother, to ending up facing her down in a magical battle. While the book overall is enchanting with the whimsical atmosphere it sets up, as well as the menacing threat of a dark magic invasion, it does feel at times like it keeps things from the reader or assumes the reader already knows something. The curse is never properly clarified, and Rona's magic powers are never clearly explained either, which makes for a confusing ending that you just have to take it as it is. Another thing is the post-climax: it sets up the story for another book, but since that is not a sure thing as of now, it just makes this book feel incomplete. In all, an interesting urban witchy fantasy.
WhisperingStories More than 1 year ago
Nor lives on a small island called Anathema. She is a direct descendant of Rona Blackburn who lived on the island over a century ago and who was attacked by the other settlers on the island for being a witch. Rona cursed the settlers but in doing so she cursed her own family too. Now back in the present day, Nor knows all about the curse. She knows only too well via her own mother what the curse can do. She hasn’t seen her mother in many years after she nearly killed her, but now her mother has returned and she is back with a book ‘The Price Guide to the Occult’ in which she is selling black magic, but at what cost? The book opens with the story of Rona Blackburn and the new island settlers. You get to find out all about Rona and the curse that she placed and why it ended up cursing her family too. The story then moves to the present day and you learn about all Nor and what the young 16/17-year-old does and the shop she works in and her friends. This middle section I must admit drained me a little. It dragged as not much happened. Then we come to the return of Nor’s mother and the book truly comes alive. I was so close to giving up on the book but I am glad that I didn’t as the last section is worth waiting for. Nor’s mother is one proper black witch who doesn’t care about anyone but herself, not even her own daughter. She will burn and drowned people to get her own way. Overall the book is a great read. Nor is an interesting character, though I would love to have gotten to know her better as I feel she was a little overshadowed by the curse and her mother.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I LOVE DARK AND TWISTY BOOKS WITH MAGIC AND WITCHES AND CONSEQUENCES AND FAMILY AND I ABSOLUTELY LOVED The Price Guide to the Occult. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: though it was a lyrical, charming book that had a lot of filler and TOO MUCH LYRICISM? I was very excited for it and enjoyed it at the time, but, looking back, I wish it had been more. I had hoped that that wasn’t going to be the case for The Price Guide to the Occult as well. MY THOUGHTS: 1. I fell in love with Leslye Walton’s writing style all over again in her second book. It was dark and twisty, and I know I say that a lot, but book in the morally grey area are my FAVOURITE. 2. I absolutely loved the PLOT of this book. The Blackburn Daughters across generations and their powers. I LOVED Rona, Judd and Nor Blackburn’s stories. I also liked Fern’s story and the way she was written. 3. I ADORE books about magic, witches and ESPECIALLY, black magic. I loved discovering Nor’s different abilities with her, as well as her romance with Reed Silvera and her infallible friendship with her best friend. I loved her Grandmother, Judd, and her wife, Apothia too. 4. Honestly, it’s very hard to describe The Price Guide to the Occult purely because of how immersive and beautifully written it was. I was pulled into life on a tiny island and immersed into the culture of the nine founding families and magic and I LOVED THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE. Would I Recommend this book?! – DEFINITELY. GET YOUR PRE-ORDERS IN ALREADY. A lyrical, dark, and twisty book filled with magic, family, and accepting yourself that is honestly such a joy to read! 4.5 stars.
Millie_Hennessy More than 1 year ago
I won this copy from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. Warning: rant ahead! Where to begin? The beginning! That’s the part I found most enjoyable. Maybe the only part I found enjoyable. The story opens with the background of Anathema Island (which is located in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington or something) and its founders. One of those founders is Rona Blackburn, a powerful witch. As her story unravels, readers learn about the curse that she inadvertently placed on her ancestors (who are apparently all female) after being spurned by her lover and the father of her child. While Rona doesn’t play a major part in the story, she was my favorite character. I would have preferred this story be about her life and that of the other founders of the island. Instead, we fast-forward to modern times to the eighth Blackburn descendant, Nor. Pale (so very pale), raven-haired (it’s waist-length), quiet, awkward, loner, Nor. Nor who just wants to lead a normal life (wait, is her name really a nickname for Normal!?), but who can’t because she has magical powers, like being able to hear the thoughts of all the plants and animals around her. Nor, who only wears black sweaters and ripped jeans and never brushes her waist-length raven hair. Nor, who also gets a fashion montage, because…teenage girls. Nor? More like Snore! Nor is boring. She has very little personality. In fact, I might be convinced she has no personality. She is a walking cliché of the skinny, pale witch girl and outside of her powers and her penchant for cutting herself, there’s little behind the façade. You find about her cutting habits in chapter one, by the way, and it’s mentioned throughout (though in flashbacks and not as part of the plot) so if that sort of thing bothers you, take that into consideration. I didn’t even get an understanding of the pain she’s gone through and rather than feel any empathy for her, I was just hoping someone would come along and do more magic. Sadly, I had issues with the magic too. Rona was all-powerful but for some unknown reason, after she performed her crazy spell, all her descendants only had one random power. Something like healing, or increased strength or the ability to help people pass painlessly into death. Until Nor, that is. Nor has inherited several powers – so many powers that crop up at convenient times in the plot. Nor’s mother is also fairly powerful though there’s at least some explanation as to why, flimsy though it is. Magic is tricky and I like it to have some rules. No need to build an intricate system, but I at least like to feel there’s some semblance of structure. Nor can just do what she needs, with no cost to herself or those around her, no spell books, no spoken words, nothing! How wonderfully convenient! I won’t go into Fern’s powers, because it’s part of the plot, but even she seems to be able to do anything she likes and based on what she does to accomplish it, it seems like any witch could have chosen the same path. It was frustrating. Speaking of Fern, she’s the villain. She’s crazy and power-hungry and evil. She wants to control everyone in the world. Why? Because. My arch-nemesis! The villain without motivation! I don’t have to agree with why a villain is “evil” and they don’t have to see themselves as the hero. But I totally can’t stand the villain that’s evil because they love being evil and evil is fun. Maybe there’s an instance where that could be pulled off, but none come to mind at
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton is a unique paranormal novel. Rona Blackburn moved to Anathema Island off the coast of Washington over a hundred years ago. She claimed a plot of land and put a sign on the door that said “witch”. A year after she arrives on the island, the men come at her home and set fire to it. Rona escapes into the woods and casts a dark spell on them using her blood and that of her daughter. A hundred years later, her descendant Nor is the eighth (and last) of the Blackburn daughters. She lives with her grandmother, Judd and has what she calls an unremarkable gift (she can hear and talk to plants as well as animals). Nor’s goal is to make the slightest mark as humanly possible on the world. Nor dropped out of high school and works in a dead-end part-time position at the Witching Hour. Then The Price Guide to the Occult comes out which allows people to order spells for a price. Two things catch Nor’s attention: the picture of the author and the free spell included. The author and the caster of the spells is Fern Blackburn, Nor’s mother and the free spell is a Blackburn family spell. Fern is a dangerous witch with formidable magic. As Fern’s book becomes more popular, the island starts deteriorating. Trouble is coming to Anathema Island and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. There is only one person who can defeat the evil but is she ready to face her destiny. The Price Guide to the Occult had a captivating description, and I was eager to read it. The prologue captured my attention, and I soon discovered it was the best part of the book. I am not sure what happened to the author after she wrote the prologue. Her writing became stilted and her word choices made for a slow-paced story (good for insomnia). It seemed like Ms. Walton was overthinking her writing. The transitions between sections were awkward and jarring. Ms. Walt does provide some lovely descriptions that help readers imagine the island and the foliage. The book is better at the end when the action picks up, but I feel that few readers would make it that far into the story. There is a lack of character development and depth. Nor was the most developed character, but she was not likeable nor is she compelling. Nor was too busy trying to be bland and fixated on Reed (her love interest). Of course, the author had to insert a love triangle. The romance did not feel natural. Fern had the potential to be a great antagonist, but she did not reach it. She is evil, but one dimensional. I did like Ms. Walton’s unique take on magic. I have not encountered it before in other paranormal novels. The Price Guide to the Occult does contain foul language, gruesome violence, and self-harm (fair warning). The ending was lackluster, unsatisfying, rushed and predictable. The author left the possibility of a sequel (oh dear). The Price Guide to the Occult is geared to the New Adult audience (over sixteen). My rating for The Price Guide to the Occult is 2 out of 5 stars.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
It has been snowy and gloomy and dull and my loves, everything in my heart has been dying for something dark and witchy and alive. In that matter, The Price Guide to the Occult was everything I wanted. It was earthy and malevolent and brought me to life. The Price Guide to the Occult introduces the reader to Rona Blackburn - a powerful witch who comes to the island in its founding days and wishes to be left in peace. Unfortunately, frightened people make rash, irrational decisions. When the eight "founding fathers" of the island fail to kill Rona, she sets a curse upon her kin and theirs, breaking apart the magical gift that is their legacy and assuring none of the Blackburn women will know true love. Fast forward to the present, and there is Nor. Nor is the eighth generation of descendants from Rona. She possesses one magical gift and lives with her grandmother and her partner. Life on the island is simple and quiet, and Nor does her very best to fly under the radar. If only her mother would do the same.... While I wasn't wholly excited about Nor, her supporting cast is filled with colorful, amazing characters. From Madge, we get that terrifying, devoted edge of a brainwashed cult follower mostly reformed. Judd is powerful and firm. Nor and Savvy's friendship is incredible and true to life of a proper female friendship. Savvy was one of my favorite characters - she reminded me to the tee of my color roommate Savannah, right down to the ever-changing hair color. It was uncanny. Even Nor's love interest was layered and interesting. Nothing insta-love about this novel. All other characters fall to shame at the feet of Fern Blackburn. I haven't read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender , but if Fern is representative of Walton's villains... readers beware. Fern is vicious, heartless, and terrifying. The Price Guide to the Occult is amazing not for its protagonist, but for its villain. I thoroughly enjoyed her. My only complaint is that we didn't get a better close-up view of this queen of darkness. From a technical scope, the writing is thrilling and enveloping, the world felt gritty and real, and I enjoyed every moment of it. And the book itself? Oh my goose, one of the prettiest books in my collection. It's this stunning hardcover - no dust jacket - with stained red page. Three color design. It's simple, beautiful, perfect for the content of the novel... like the pages are bleeding. I love this book design, guys. If you're a fan of an earthy witch story - like Charmed or Practical Magic, or even something akin to Hocus Pocus - you will adore The Price Guide to the Occult
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a darker story than I had imagined from the jacket description. That being said, I think this was a great YA coming of age story. The heroine, Nor, is from a long line of Blackburn witches. Her mother, Fern, deserted her when she was young in the care of her grandmother. Fern, however, did damage Nor before leaving her. This story is about Nor overcoming her childhood trauma to become stronger. When Fern starts gaining notoriety by publishing a Price Guide to the Occult (actually a catalog of spells and their fees), Nor starts to worry that Fern will return to her little island. Nor has steadfast friends and great support from her grandmother and others on the island. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in YA fiction involving the supernatural. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. It has a very big Practical Magic feel to it but was very dark and twisted. To me it didn't feel like it came full circle at the end..... For a sequel? I'll definitely be keeping an eye out.....