Tina Connolly – Seriously Wicked

The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch—will that mean she’s wicked too?

Tina Connolly’s Seriously Wicked is the first book in her series about teen witch Camellia. I actually read the second book, Seriously Shifted first and I liked it so much that I immediately went and bought this one, because I wanted to know what happened in the first book. And Seriously Wicked was just as much fun as I’d hoped. Cam and her friends are delightful and I really loved how Connolly approached the relationship between Cam and her mum. 

Before I dive into the characters though, I wanted to comment on the world-building. It was great. I really liked that the witch world exists side-by-side with the non-magical world and that there are witchy alternates for everyday things, such as Witchipedia, the WitchNet, and the witch-only mobile network. Connolly also uses traditional lore and mythic creatures to inhabit her magical world, such as dragons, phoenixes, pixies, and demons, but she gives them a twist of her own. Such as the surviving dragons all being female, because the males were the aggressive ones that were killed off by our medieval knights and pixies actually looking like winged frogs instead of tiny little fairies. The structure of the magic spells Cam needs to decipher was cool as well, holding the middle ground between riddles and maths problems. Also…Who knew fanny packs could actually serve a cool purpose?

But while the world-building was fun and I really enjoyed it, the heart of this novel is in its characters. Cam is at its centre, but her relationships are varied and interesting. My favourite was her friendship with Jenah. They were such wonderful friends and there is such a sense of trust and their bond is so strong. Not to mention that Jenah is just too cool for school. The two other main relationships and characters in play are Cam’s mum, Sarmine, and new boy Devon. I really loved how Connolly built up Cam’s relationship with Sarmine and the reveal she put in at the end. The tension between normal teenage rebellion against your parents and Cam’s view of her mum was finely tuned, making her a somewhat unreliable portrayer of her mum. Another supremely teeny element to Cam’s character is her instant crush on Devon. I love her split-second identification of him as a boy-band boy, which while technically correct doesn’t do Devon justice. I really liked Devon when he was himself, though I have to admit, Demon Devon was also rather cool.

Of course there are a number of additional characters that were a lot of fun. Former friend and current mean girl/queen bee Sparkle was fabulous and I really liked how Connolly wove her into the narrative. Kelvin, Cam’s maths tutor and unlikely source for goat’s blood, whose clumsy attempt at trying to get her to go to prom with him, was both endearing, but also really very creepy and I really loved how Cam put him in his place. And of course there was Estahoth, the demon who accidentally possesses Devon. He is a demon and a completely sleaze ball, but I actually kind of liked him.

In the end, everyone in the story has to decide who they want to be and to accept who they are, whether that is a witch, a boy-band boy, or a dragon. Seriously Wicked exudes such a sense of fun that I found myself grinning at its pages more than once. I breezed through its pages and I was sad to reach the end. If you want to get a taste of what this series is like, you can check out That Seriously Obnoxious Time I Was Stuck at Witch Rimelda’s One Hundredth Birthday Party on Tor.com as it is both a very entertaining read and gives a good sense of the tone of the book. But if Seriously Wicked sounds at all like your cup of tea, I seriously recommend you give it a read, because it was one of the funniest books I’ve read in the past year.