A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley – Book Review – Bloom Reviews

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley – Book Review – Bloom Reviews

For the past couple weeks I’ve been reading some darker vampire romances that always involved life-endangering plots and tearful reunions after abuse. I really needed a break from the dark fantasy tropes that I found myself in. Earlier in the year, I saw this book recommended on a few Facebook pages and thought the cover and concept looked cute and light-hearted. When I saw it while perusing a book store, I decided to take the chance and pick it up to add to my growing To-Be-Read pile. A couple weeks ago, I wound up coming to the point where I needed the palate cleanser a cute and funny romance would provide, and I was not disappointed in picking this one up.

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is about a young witch named Mariel Spark who has been prophesied to be the most powerful witch in the Spark family’s history, only the only magic she can seem to perform with any amount of competence is garden and earth magic. The pressure to perform and live up to the prophecy of her birth leads her to accidentally summon a demon instead of the bag of flour she originally wanted. 

Ozroth the Ruthless used to be the most respected dealmaker in the Demon Realm, that is until he acquired a soul of his own thanks to the tricky maneuvering of a dying wizard. In order to prove that he has not lost his touch, thanks to the acquisition of strange human emotions, he must make a deal for a powerful soul by the end of the month. When he mistakenly gets summoned by a powerful witch who wants nothing to do with him, he must find something she wants more than her soul or he’s stuck with her for the foreseeable future. Only, he finds that he’s starting to not mind spending time with Mariel Spark as his new human emotions lead him into temptation himself. 

Written by Sarah Hawley, A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon was originally published on March 7th of this year, earning a 3.8 on Goodreads. While this is Hawley’s first book, she has previously written short stories and articles as well as co-hosting the podcast Wicked Wallflower Club about romance fiction. I think this really gives her a good background to be able to draw on when writing her novels, and it shows in her first book. She does include a few tropes that I find overused and annoying, but overall I found the plot and characters to be very enjoyable and just what I was looking for in a cute, smutty romance to balance out the darker ones I’ve been reading. 

“Ozroth the Ruthless had proven himself to be, so far, Ozroth the Very Annoying, Ozroth the Unwanted Magic Tutor, and Ozroth the Ravenous Dinner Eater.”

– Sarah Hawley

Mariel Spark, our main character, is a hot-head with a lot resting on her shoulders. Raised to believe that she was prophesied to be the most powerful Spark witch in history, she is constantly pushed by her family to do better in her magic while her skills in earth magic and plants are discounted. Her mother constantly belittles her skills and walks all over any boundary she tries to set while her father goes along with anything her mother says. The only support she gets are from her two friends, another witch and a Pixie. Her one comfort through all of this is her plants and the magically charged forest that encircles their town. 

Ozroth, on the other hand, is raised to be unemotional, calculating, and persuasive by the demon mentor that trained him in the art of deal-making. Made to believe emotion is a weakness that could spell the downfall of his duty as someone who collects souls, and in-turn magic, for the magicless Demon Realm, he is rocked to the core after a misstep in a deal leaves him with a human soul of his own. Now he feels too much, too brightly, and is unable to fit his new normal into the morally-gray aspect of his duty. Mariel’s summoning could mean the last chance he has to prove himself to his mentor and the rest of Demonkind that he is still capable of fulfilling his duty with the cold-calculation that is needed. 

This dichotomy of Mariel’s beaten-down self-esteem and Ozroth’s new-found humanity creates a relationship of insecurity that of course leads to some drama. Ozroth finds himself inexplicably drawn to Mariel’s personality and cheerfulness despite the emotional abuse she faces from her parents. Mariel, while annoyed to have a demon following her around that she doesn’t want there in the first place, finds herself drawn to his unexpected support. Misunderstandings happen as Mariel tries to decide if Ozroth can really be trusted despite the love and support he has shown her, and Ozroth must learn how to deal with his human emotions in the face of conflicting needs, duty vs love. 

I tend to not love the misunderstanding trope because a lot of times it’s either used to prolong a story that could have been ended quicker or the misunderstandings themselves are very obvious. I would say that in this book’s case, they got slightly annoying in the end, but I could see how they might come about given Ozroth and Mariel’s naivete in the face of a serious relationship. Neither have much experience or confidence when it comes to talking about their issues, and there is the underlying fact that Ozroth’s motives have been in question for most of the book. What ends up forcing them to face reality and their own future is a common enemy and outside pressure. 

Seeing Mariel and Ozroth progress through the book was pretty satisfying. They both grow a lot as characters and finally take their own future in hand and decide for themselves who they want to be. A huge theme of this book is duty/expectations vs love/reality. Shaking off the shackles that familial or societal expectations have for us to find who we really are and what we really want to be. This involves taking a long hard look at what is the most important and realizing that sometimes family are the people you choose and not the people who share your genes. 

I would recommend checking this book out if you love forced-proximity, witchy/demon stories, spicy smut, and a whole lot of snarkiness. A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is a great lighter romance to add to your shelves, with sweet characters that will capture your hearts and also make you laugh out loud. If you’ve happened to read it already, let me know what you thought in the comments below!

The second book in the series, A Demon’s Guide to Wooing a Witch, comes out in November of this year. 

~Thanks for Reading!~

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مدونة تقنية تركز على نصائح التدوين ، وتحسين محركات البحث ، ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي ، وأدوات الهاتف المحمول ، ونصائح الكمبيوتر ، وأدلة إرشادية ونصائح عامة ونصائح