Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. 

a witch's guide to fake dating a demonMariel Spark has been prophesied to be the most powerful witch in centuries but she can barely grasp a basic summoning spell. She’d much rather spend her time baking and tending to her plants than trying to live up to the Spark family legacy. Then she accidentally summons a demon instead of flour and he just won’t go away.

His hot, horrible, weird presence. Ozroth the Ruthless had proven himself to be, so far, Ozroth the Very Annoying, Ozroth the Unwanted Magic Tutor, and Ozroth the Ravenous Dinner Eater.

This was loads of fun. Ozroth the Ruthless’s name is kind of similar to the magic word for flour and so he turns up expecting Mariel to trade her soul for something. Despite her inability to live up to her mother’s expectations, she quite likes her soul and doesn’t want to do the deal. But that’s not how the demon summoning gig works. Ozroth is going to stick around until she decides what she wants.

“Mom says the stars told her I have the potential to be a ruler.” She laughed bitterly. “She must have misheard. I have the potential to use a ruler.” She punctuated the words with a whack of the yardstick against the counter.

Of course Ozroth isn’t like other demons, he has a soul and it’s starting to make him feel things. Undemonly things. The banter between them was genuinely funny, at least at the beginning, but it did turn mushy very quickly. However there was plenty more going on that kept me engaged until the very end.

We could stand to learn a few things about ruthless manipulation and one-sided bargains from American healthcare insurers.

Mariel might not be good with the kind of magic witches really respect, but she is good with nature and the plants respond to her. When the town’s mayor decides to turn a hotspot for magical nature into a luxury spa, Mariel is outraged and a lot of the remaining, non-romantic, plot centres around trying to save it.

It’s a fantasy romance rather than a fantasy with a romance, so expect certain tropes, a bit of sex, and things to be resolved quite neatly to enable the HEA. It’s super enjoyable all the same and I’d certainly read the sequel (for which there is a sampler in the copy I read but I can’t seem to find evidence of it online).

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is published by Gollancz and will be available in paperback, ebook and audiobook editions from 9th March 2023. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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