Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

“Witches were never capitalists. We were the thing that stood in the way of capitalism, which is just the engine of the patriarchy, after all. Witches were not all killed by fire. We are the fire,” (Dimaline 133).

Lucky St. James is not so lucky. Her beloved Metis mother Arnya died when she was young, she’s stuck working temp jobs because she can’t find any writing ones, and now she and her grandmother Stella, who raised her, are about to be evicted from their apartment. Then one night Lucky finds a small spoon with the word SALEM engraved on it and is brought to the actual town by Meena Good where she finds out that she is a witch and that Meena has been called to bring together the seven witches who find their silver spoons to form a coven. Except that the last spoon is missing, and the deadline to form the coven is fast approaching. But Lucky is up for the challenge and ready to accept her destiny going on a road trip throughout the United States with her forgetful grandma to find the last spoon and form the coven. But a witch hunter, Jay Christos, is aware of the spoon and the last witch as well and will do anything to stop the coven from being formed, which means he’s right on Lucky’s trail every step of the way.

This is the first book by Cherie Dimaline I’ve read and certainly not the last, but truthfully, I did expect more from VenCo. I loved the writing style, and the world of magic hidden in plain sight really drew me in, but it’s pacing was strange. It took a very long time for any action to occur and when action does occur it’s over fairly quickly. I read one review on Goodreads that mentioned how strong this would have been as a series and I have been OBSESSED with that idea since, though it obviously isn’t to be. But I thought Lucky was an excellent character to follow and really liked her relationship with her grandmother Stella. I liked most of the witches honestly (except Morticia, she was just rude to me) and wished we’d gotten time to know them more. I appreciated learning how they found their spoons, but they were all such different characters that it would have been nice to really dive into their pasts. I also thought Jay Christos was a wonderful villain, though I worry he delved a bit too much into the Depraved Bisexual trope.

I’ll also say that I predicted who the seventh witch was pretty early on, and that there really wasn’t a big understanding of what the point of forming the coven was until the end. I guess that was the point, but some understanding or inkling about it would have been nice. I also wish we got to see more of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone, they were such interesting characters to be introduced to, each with such a huge presence that got pushed to the background.

Overall, VenCo is a well-written, magical road-trip that readers can’t help but enjoy the ride. Even if the destination is predictable, the journey towards it is well worth it!

61388100Publication: February 7 2023
Publisher: Random House Canada
Pages: 386 pages (Hardcover)
Source: Library
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤.5

Lucky St. James, orphaned daughter of a bad-ass Métis good-times girl, is barely hanging on to her nowhere life when she finds out that she and her grandmother, Stella, are about to be evicted from their apartment. Bad to worse in a heartbeat. Then one night, doing laundry in the building’s dank basement, Lucky feels an irresistible something calling to her. Crawling through a hidden hole in the wall, she finds a tarnished silver spoon depicting a story-book hag over letters that spell out S-A-L-E-M.
Which alerts Salem-born Meena Good, finder of a matching spoon, to Lucky’s existence. One of the most powerful witches in North America, Meena has been called to bring together seven special witches and seven special spoons–infused with magic and scattered to the four directions more than a century ago–to form a magic circle that will restore women to their rightful power. Under the wing of the international headhunting firm VenCo, devoted to placing exceptional women in roles where they can influence business, politics and the arts, Meena has spent years searching out witches hiding in plain sight wherever women gather: suburban book clubs, Mommy & Me groups, temp agencies. Lucky and her spoon are number six.
With only one more spoon to find, a very powerful adversary has Meena’s coven in his sights–Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself. As the clock ticks toward a now-or-never deadline, Meena sends Lucky and her grandmother on a dangerous, sometimes hilarious, road trip through the United States in search of the seventh spoon. The trail leads them at last to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where Lucky’s final showdown with Jay Christos will determine whether the coven will be completed, ushering in a new beginning, or whether witches will be forced to remain forever underground.

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