“You humans don’t know how to savour an experience.“
Sarah Hawley ~ A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon
Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon—one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.
Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry—if he can strike a bargain with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).
But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle with their opposing goals and maintaining a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions—including love—which will only spell disaster for them both.
This book came along at just the right time. It was fun, light-hearted and sexy as hell… sorry, sexy as the demon plane.
Mariel was a brilliant character – she was smart, funny and stubborn and I could relate to her on so many levels. The first scene involves a chicken and it is hilarious, especially her reaction to the whole situation. See also trouser snake…
Her chemistry with Oz felt genuine and I loved the awkward banter between them, as he figured out how to navigate her town, family and personality. As someone whose other half is a history teacher from New Zealand, Oz’s pretend circumstances made me laugh. Sex scenes were realistic yet pretty hot, with none of the awkward or cringeworthy language that can ruin these intimate scenes.
Mariel’s relationship with her mother is equally as believable, although quite shocking. I guess throwing magic into the midst of a family argument is only going to end in tears… or transfiguration!
Other characters were equally as vivid and memorable, and I was totally swept up in the story. A lot of enemies to lovers stories feel contrived but this was perfect and I loved it. Magic used is quite subtle, but flows well and adds to the overall story.
My only tiny bugbear was that we were told a few too many times that Mariel was curvy; I appreciate the author wanted to make this clear, but I acknowledged it the first time and didn’t need all of the reminders.
A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is a gorgeous blend of Gilmore Girls and Sabrina – with a lot more sex – what’s not to like? Looking forward to the sequel that I hope exists!
Thanks to Gollancz for my proof copy. Opinions my own.