Book Review: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

cover to the fifth petal
© Crown, 2017.


When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

Via Goodreads


I finally finished reading The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry. It wasn’t quite my thing, though. Despite being labeled as a fantasy mystery, The Fifth Petal hovers a little too heavily on romance for me to find it enjoyable. There’s also a ridiculous amount of repetition which, if you read my thoughts on List of 10, you’ll know I abhor it when writers think their readers are going to forget something major within the plot after a few pages.

Many times throughout my reading of The Fifth Petal, I felt things were dragging. In fact, very little of the book focuses on the murders mentioned in its blurb. More of it focuses on an abstract idea of new age healing, with only the overly obvious blooming romance breaking up the monotony. As a reader, when I pick up a book that’s labeled fantasy or mystery, that’s what I expect. Couple that with an unrealistic, “out of the wild blue yonder” twist at the end, and it seriously just falls flat.

Characterwise, there’s a distinct feeling of “woe is me! I am the victim” throughout this book, alongside several of your stereotypical wealthy snobs. Because of this, I found it hard to become attached to any of the characters – but this is my opinion. For other readers, namely those that favor the flavor of romance, this is perfect.

To be honest, I’d like to rate this book a two for the sheer fact that, like The Cutaway, its genre is based more on the plot’s outline than its actual content. The thing is, the writing isn’t horrible – nor is the romance. There’s not really any detailed sexual encounters either, which is a plus for some. In fact, it’s a pretty safe read all around. I do admire Barry’s ideology behind some of her witches, i.e., lace readers. Because I can see others enjoying this and it’s not downright horrid, I’ve decided to go with a median rating. Besides, the cover is fantastic.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 💀💀💀

If you enjoyed this review, please consider becoming a patron. as little as $1 a month helps with site costs. thank you.
Liked it? Take a second to support Acanthea Grimscythe on Patreon!