Fascinating, compelling, and well-crafted… A seductively readable tale.
Sinister conspiracies, mystery, and intrigue abound in Neyman’s entertaining debut, a contemporary urban fantasy tale that takes readers into a young witch’s journey to revenge and redemption. The lovely spellcaster Sophie Morris is all excited for her last year of college. When the endearing, Benjamin Hurwitz walks into Sophie’s life, she feels the spark flying at once. Researching for a college thesis takes Benjamin into a dark web of a sinister corporate conspiracy, and he has no clue about the danger awaiting him ahead. Soon Sophie finds herself getting entangled in the whole conspiracy. Her investigation proves to be a journey into the genuine heart of darkness, replete with chaos and revenge, making her the target of a powerful corporation. Caught between violating witches’ centuries-old magical traditions and doing the right thing, Sophie must choose her options carefully or risk losing either her soul or her life. Neyman provides a colorful and intriguing depiction of college life and young adult drama, enlivened by an intriguing cast of well-drawn characters, particularly Sophie and Benjamin, whose heartbreaking plight pulls the reader headlong into the novel’s engrossing mix of mystery and urban fantasy. Sophie is a wonderfully crafted, sympathetic, feisty protagonist. Readers will find it impossible not to root for her. Benjamin is heartbreakingly realistic and adorable. Wilma and Sydeny leave a definite impression. The narrative is a bit slow to begin with, but the story picks up the pacing soon, with Neyman nicely evoking the supernatural and fantasy elements and deftly straddling the boundaries between the explicable and the otherworldly. The energy-based magic system is well wrought-out and incorporated nicely into the story, and Neyman is brilliant when it comes to capturing the spirit of Sophie’s hometown with its shimmering lake. The intricate mini subplots keep the reader invested while adding intrigue to the main storyline. As revelations about the corporation conspiracy become increasingly sinister, Neyman expertly retches up the tension, keeping the pages flying. The prose is crisp, pacing smooth, and the tense narrative will have readers turning pages fast. The satisfying ending with a tantalizing cliffhanger suggests more exciting installments to come. Themes of revenge, redemption, rage, power struggle, rape, suicide, violence, self-harm, and good versus evil are woven skillfully into the affecting narrative. Vivid and sympathetic characters, intriguing storyline, and well-orchestrated magic system makes for a page-turner. Lovers of contemporary urban fantasy will be greatly rewarded.
Sophie is Scarlet: A Tragedy of a Modern Witch
By Greg Neyman
Pub date February 11, 2021
ISBN 979-8592892523 Price $12.99 (USD) Paperback, $2.92 Kindle edition
Categories: Urban fantasy