Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Set on a fictional island inspired by Jamaica, Witches Steeped in Gold is the first installment of a mysterious adventure. Iraya Adair, exiled heir to the throne of Aiyca, has been imprisoned for a long time. She dreams of seeking revenge against the woman who betrayed her family, Doyenne Cariot. The Doyenne is a brutal leader and her daughter Jazmyne knows it. She's decided that she can no longer stand by as her mother sacrifices others for her own power. When Iraya and Jazmyne's paths cross, they decide to plot together, whether they trust each other or not.
Ciannon Smart's Witches Steeped in Gold is an intriguing book with more twists than I could have expected. Her world building is all-encompassing, especially when listening to the audiobook. This may be a YA book but Smart's characters speak in such a formal manner that I often forgot that detail. While I could picture myself in the jungle, training alongside Iraya, the descriptions were so imaginative that I feel like I would need to read the book again to notice the specifics. Jazmyne and Iraya are mysterious protagonists. I enjoyed reading from each of their viewpoints. I hoped to glean more of how their personalities formed but suspect that they will develop more in a second book.
Fellow Caribbean folks who like this genre will enjoy this book. I recommend you listen to the book, as well, because the narrator is quite good. Those who are not Caribbean or have not been exposed too much of Jamaican culture should probably steer clear of the audiobook as the accents may make the book harder to follow.
I hope there's a second book because the ending is a cliffhanger, my friends!!