Bad Magic by A.M. Stirling @AMStirling1 @damppebbles #BookReview #BlogTour

Posted June 24, 2020 by Zoé in Book Reviews / 5 Comments

I am back with a tour book today and it is a different type of book normally on the blog. Iread the blurb and wanted to try something out of my comfort zone and my god did this pay out!

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Bad Magic by A.M. Stirling @AMStirling1 @damppebbles #BookReview #BlogTourBad Magic by A. M. Stirling
Published by Wombach Press on October 1 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Pages: 232

When Richard meets his cousin Amanda for the first time in twenty years, he’s still afraid of her; she bullied him throughout his childhood and sexually abused him when they were teenagers.

He owns a struggling art gallery that only survives because his wealthy grandmother pays for it.

But now Amanda’s back in his life, things look set to change.

She’s out to make trouble, drugging Richard with Rohypnol, faking a burglary and trying to persuade their grandmother to change her will.

Richard’s heard a rumour she murdered her mother.

Fearing for his grandmother’s life and his inheritance, he decides to give Amanda a dose of her own medicine.

Not going to lie the blurb definitely got my interest. It’s not often you read about a man being sexually abused and I was interested to see how this would play out. Whenever I finish a book the first thing I do is write my review to clear my head before I start my next book, however, I can’t clear my head with this book, it’s stuck in there still. I can not stop thinking about this book!!!!!!

It was a wild ride for sure! A lot of details are not given it’s more of what your imagination can play. Richard loses his parents when he was young, his Nan can’t be bothered with him, for want of a better phrase and ships him off to Canada to stay with his Aunt for the summer. There he meets his cousin Amanda, so self-assured in every which way and basically destroys Richard in that summer. She takes his innocence away and messes with his head. He knows everything that happens is wrong, yet he wants it at the same time. This however does complete screw his brain up and this is obvious from the way he lives his life.

For twenty years he managed to stay away from Amanda. He lives in the UK she lives in Canada, until the day his Aunt dies, then he has to see her again. As you can imagine, his world crashes and is turned upside down.

Richard is far from likeable, he has a “girlfriend” back in the UK yet he is sleeping with an old flame when at the funeral and has a longing to rekindle the flame. Amanda, not liking that the focus is not on her, drugs and raped him. The biggest problem for Richard, he was upset that he couldn’t remember the act yet being disgusted that he wanted it, a complete conflict in his mind.

Amanda, well she is not likeable, jail bait for sure. I admired her confidence and she knew what she wanted, but she had crossed so many lines and then an awful game of cat and mouse started, a class A manipulator.

However, despite not liking Richard, I actually felt sorry for him. His life spins out of control and it wasn’t his fault, well not entirely. He took his eye off the ball, made some bad decisions, why? Amanda! She consumes him and it is what I imagine Stockholm syndrome is like.

Even when I got to the end of the book, it still feels far from satisfying. It feels like there is a dark cloud hanging over him and now me. I can’t shake the feeling that things aren’t right. My head just feels clouded. I want to say more about the book but I know I can’t and to be honest, I am not sure what I would say. I have to digest this. What a great book because it is definitely one that will get you talking. Although I will be recommending this to everyone, if they are able to handle the content, as it is a book that needs to be read, and I think it will be finding its way on my book of the year list.

I feel dirty for enjoying the book because of the subject matter but I really did. I was morbidly fascinated by the story of Richard and Amanda, the power plays they had, the power she had. I thought Stirling did a sterling (sorry!) job with the book, he tackled the subject matter with respect and it was not glorified or glamorised. It was raw, dark, uncomfortable and foreboding. There is no light, there is no satisfaction, there is just an end and you have to deal with it. This is a debut and I will most definitely read Stirling’s next book, I was absorbed by his writing. I felt the panic, the disgust and the shock. Hats off to Stirling for writing this book! I think it’s a book that is needed and it shows men can be victims too.

Until next time xxx

Follow the rest of the tour here

Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles for the tour invite and the author for a copy of the book in return for my honest and unbiased review

Click the picture to see how dark it can go

Nothing at the moment, this is a debut novel, but I will be keeping my eye out for Mr Stirling’s future books!

About A. M. Stirling

A. M. Stirling has had a varied career as a freelance photographer, an artist with several national and international exhibitions to his name, and an academic. After harbouring an ambition to write fiction for far too long, he completed an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University in 2012.

Bad Magic is his first published novel. He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:



Stay and have a chat :)

5 responses to “Bad Magic by A.M. Stirling @AMStirling1 @damppebbles #BookReview #BlogTour

    • Zoé

      Yeah the blurb got me, and I thought I would step my toe in. I really couldn’t believe how awesome it was!