Back in October 2019, I was given an ARC of The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith and fell absolutely head over heels in love with it! It had been so long since I’d felt so immersed in another world, and even longer since I’d enjoyed a protagonist so much. Although I complained that it was the first in a series, I don’t regret picking up its sequel The Glamourist in the least!
Elena Boreanu’s friend Yvette has landed herself on the wrong side of the law, along with a mystery to uncover. On her sixteenth birthday, Yvette was given a mysterious grimoire from her mother. The only problem is that the writing inside is completely undecipherable to all witches. Elena must also deal with the witch government asking her to revoke her status as a vine witch, so these two witches must sort out their destinies before the authorities come for them both…again.
Everything I loved about the first book returns here. Elena is still as clever and classy as ever, and I still haven’t stopped wishing I could be her for a day! Jean-Paul Martel has also returned, even though his role is not as great here. Yvette is just as fun and real a character too. She is brash and quick-witted thanks to her days on the street, but she still feels inexperienced and scared, just like a regular teenager learning her way.
It’s kind of disappointing that Jean-Paul does not have a larger role in this story since he was one of my favorite characters in the first book. However, we do have the addition of his mother, Marion, who is a riot! Marion may seem like a nosy, flaky woman clinging to societal trends, but she has some funny lines. She even gets in on the adventure from time to time. I really thought she was going to prove annoying, but she came through!
As with the first book, the world-building is so much fun! We learn more and more about how witches live in this world, but especially how their laws work. Needless to say, no one has any fun working with the people pushing those laws. Especially since they call Elena’s status as a vine witch–her very living–into question, all because her mother was a poison witch.
The mystery about finding Yvette’s mother is also fun. As is to be expected, the search reveals something very special about Yvette. I won’t go into spoilers, but, as someone who has read a lot of fantasy and learned a lot about the powers of several fantasy creatures, I probably should have guessed it from the title. I mean, “Glamourist”? There are only a handful of fantasy creatures that use glamour. Those who know your fantasy can spell it out for yourselves.
It’s also quite telling when I do not put more stock in one story over another. Both Yvette and Elena’s stories were compelling, even though I personally enjoy Elena more as a character. I like it when main characters are very calm and mature, if a touch sarcastic. I already explained why I loved Elena so much in the first book, but that last sentence put it in a nutshell.
I’m now pretty glad that this story is a series, because it means I’ll have more adventures with Elena, Jean-Paul, Marion, and their friends.