I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Go Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare
Published by Atria Books on April 19, 2022
Pages: 384 •Format: E-ARC •Source: NetGalley, Publisher
When Reggie Johnson answers a job ad in the paper, she's astonished to find that she's not applying to work at her favorite card game, Spellcraft: The Magicking. Instead, she's applying to be an actual familiar for an actual witch. As in, real magic.
The new job has a few perks - great room and board, excellent pay, and she's apprenticing to a powerful witch. Sure, the witch is a bit eccentric. And sure, there was that issue with the black cat Reggie would prefer to forget about. The biggest problem, however, is warlock Ben Magnus, her employer's nephew and the most arrogant, insufferable, maddening man to ever cast a spell.
Reggie absolutely hates him. He's handsome, but he's also bossy and irritating and orders her around. Ben's butt might look great in a crystal ball vision, but that's as far as it goes. But when someone with a vendetta targets the household, she finds herself working with Ben to break a deadly curse. Apparently, when they're not fighting like cats and dogs, things get downright...bewitching.
I’m a huge fan of paranormal witch stories, and the fact that witchy rom-coms are popular right now is making my little book blogger heart burst with joy! Therefore, when I had the opportunity to read Go Hex Yourself, I couldn’t say no! Following down on her luck but still optimistic Reggie and seemingly dark and dangerous warlock Ben, this grumpy-sunshine romance checked all the boxes of what I was looking for in a cute, quick romance with some intriguing lore around magic and curses.
Romance wise, Go Hex Yourself is serviceable, but Reggie and Ben’s love story isn’t one that I found particularly memorable. Reggie is your typical clueless mortal who doesn’t realize she has answered an ad in the paper to serve as someone’s “familiar” (yes, a human familiar that serves as a magical battery for a witch or wizard) and basically thinks she’s just interviewing to be an assistant. Ben is the disgruntled nephew of Reggie’s employer, who is at first irked and then charmed by Reggie’s unfailing optimism and kindness, even in the face of learning that magic is real (despite her best attempts to try to explain it all away). They definitely have some scenes with chemistry, but overall I feel like Ben’s feelings toward Reggie grew a bit too fast- I would have liked to see more of the build up of the hate-to-love trope.
What really stood out to me while reading was the interesting take on witch and warlock lore in the story. The magic system is based on Ancient Rome (so the characters say, I’m personally not familiar with magic mythology in Ancient Rome myself so take this with a grain of salt) and the bread and butter of witches and warlocks is the ability to curse others. Curses are often written on lead tablets and hidden, and the curse cannot be broken until a tablet is located and destroyed. I’ve never encountered a magic system that was so bound to physical manifestation and destruction, so was intrigued by this take (again, it could be more common than I know, but it was new to me!) I also hadn’t come across world building where humans served as familiars (I usually think of them as animals in fantasy). They are basically apprentices and serving as a familiar helps to hone and bring about their own magical abilities. It was all very creative and I’ve read a few witchy romances and this is the only one I can think of that I’ve read so far that explained the magic system. I also found it fascinating that these ancient witches and warlocks adopted to modern times by providing consulting cursing services to the billionaires, celebrities and CEOs of the world- hilarious but also outrageous enough to be true!
Overall: Go Hex Yourself is a unique take on the the magical elements of paranormal/witchy romance, and the romance is OK if a bit underdeveloped for my taste. I’m intrigued to see if the author continues to write in this world and expand on her world building, as I can see myself picking up further installments set in this universe!