Book Reviews

Review: Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

I am absolutely gutted I did not love Witches Steeped in Gold as much as I thought I would. It’s been one of my most anticipated releases and I am devastated. But it’s never as simple as it seems. Keep reading this book review to read about my complex feelings.


Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom – and vengeance.

Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power.

Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain – except the lengths they will go to win this game.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: mention of rape

Jamaican inspired fantasy meets a “Killing Eve” comp? I was hooked before I even began, but I was frustrated while reading. Witches Steeped in Gold is a story that examines revenge and sacrifice. What will our retribution cost us? This dual POV debut unravels the history of the past, the betrayals, and the battles. But what really lost me was not only that I did not care for the romance story line, but also the pacing. Everyone obviously has their own preferences for romance, but both of them just felt a little coincidental?

I was also confused about like the emotional or like shared experience basis for it? Maybe it’s just me, but I would have preferred it without this element. At the same time, the pacing was confusing to me. Towards the middle it lost a lot of steam as different revelations were made. But I lost the steady momentum, or the need to read, as it went on. I was intrigued by the world, especially as the politics grew more complex, but there was a definite lull for me. By the time the book picked up speed again, I was just a bit frustrated by the plot events or mentions that seemed to gain significance even though I had never really heard of it before.

Witches Steeped in Gold has so much promise for me, even looking back. It’s a story that begins to ask interesting questions about vengeance, and alliances from trust and mutual gain, not shadowy corners and bladed threats. There are intricate histories layered on top of each other, blended with all these forces, and Smart asks if we will be stuck in cycle of revenge. If we seize power the same way as our enemies, are we just as bad? When we’ve become absorbed by a quest for power, what high ground do we have?

Find Witches Steeped in Gold on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is a book you wanted to love?

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