Modern Divination is a new adult contemporary fantasy that partially takes place at Cambridge University. It follows two main characters: Aurelia Schwartz, a witch from the US, and Theodore Ingram, her fellow student and rival. When another witch is murdered, Aurelia is pulled into the murder mystery and finds herself teaming up with Teddy.
Things I Liked:
- This book is very atmospheric, which is a trait I always love!
- I also loved the witchy aesthetic. Aurelia, as a green witch, cultivates plants, and I enjoyed when she worked her magic.
- Tea vibes! Since it’s set in England, there’s plenty brewing of tea and talk about tea.
- Teddy has strong Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle vibes.
- I really enjoyed the style of dialogue and the deep conversations between Aurelia and Teddy.
- In the same vein, I enjoyed the overall writing style.
- There’s also Jewish, bisexual, and nonbinary representation.
Things I Didn’t Like As Much:
- The plot itself is very minimal. I love a good murder mystery and was expecting it to take up more of the story. However, this is a very character-driven and introspective story, and the plot is left on the very back burner. I also found the actual plot itself to be lackluster, and the villain to be flat and uninteresting, unfortunately.
- Sections of the story are confusing. I felt like I needed to reread explanations because I was constantly double-guessing what I knew and didn’t know. Some of the transitions between chapters were also a little unclear, and I had to reread them for clarity’s sake.
- Lastly, the magic system could have been explored more. There were some revelations at the end of the book that fell flat for me because I didn’t feel like I knew the magic system well enough.
Overall, I did really enjoy the focus on the characters. Both Aurelia and Teddy are well-rounded and have plenty of flaws, and Aurelia’s friendship with her flatmate/best friend, Ryan, is written well. However, I wish the story was clearer and had a bit of a stronger plot.