A thrilling dark YA urban fantasy about three young women and their demons.

The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland continues her trademark style of female-led YA stories full of deliciously dark fantasy elements set amongst gritty urban realities.

Three young women from very different backgrounds are living in London and struggling with demonic magic, what it promised to give them, and what it ultimately took from them.

Jude is the daughter of one of the richest and most famous men in the world, her family is complicated and terrible, and, worst of all, she has accidentally cursed herself and her soul is necrotic. She needs to find a witch, a cursewriter, to help her undo what she has done to herself before her body fully falls apart.

Zara’s sister mysteriously died a year ago and she is determined to get her back, to speak to her once more, and her research is leading her to believe that there may be a way. She is determined to raise her sister from the dead, but she cannot do it alone.

Emer is from a family of witches, the only survivor of a terrible event years earlier, and she is plotting her revenge. While she waits for her opportunity for vengeance, she uses her knowledge to help frightened women find small pieces of power to fight back, to keep themselves safe from the worst that is done to them. Emer also happens to have the answers to Jude and Zara’s problems.

As the three of them meet, a mysterious killer makes himself known in London, and it seems that he has some connection to each of them. It’s only by sticking together that they have any chance of surviving, and as the murderer closes in, the three women race to find answers to questions they didn’t know to ask, of themselves and of each other.

This is another brilliant and layered dark urban fantasy story from Krystal Sutherland. It is woven of the grimmest fairytale elements, filled with enjoyable and memorable characters, and dropped into a world both familiar and strange. Sutherland’s trademark world-building creates a London filled with the trappings of modernity in stark contrast with the terror and blood of ancient magic, witches, hunters, and deals with demons. It is thrilling and mysterious, keeping you guessing right until the final scene.

A warning that this book is not for the faint of heart or queasy of stomach; there are many graphic body horror moments that unfold throughout the story.

Perfect for fans of Sutherland’s previous dark fairytale-inspired books, lovers of fast-paced YA thrillers with a dash of queer romance, and anyone who would give a slice of their soul to a demon for enough power to keep themself safe from harm.

This review was first published on ArtsHub.

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