13 April 2015


Have you ever read a book so good that it made you see things differently afterwards? One that you're completely sucked into, to the point that you're unable to put it down until you've completed it. Sounds cliché, but honestly, this can be one of the most satisfying experiences of reading anything. It's not always easy to find a book that you can truly connect with, one you will be caught up in for hours. Books have an unparalleled way of inspiring and enlightening you, and there's nothing more rewarding than reading a book with such a strong impact that it challenges your past ways of thinking and open you up to a new way of looking at things.  This particular book did this for me.

 I received a free copy of this book by author Katarina West, in exchange for my honest review. My interest in this book came to be after reading its summary on a blog. I felt that the summary of the book was pretty engaging as I'd never come across a novel about tragedy in respect to fashion, in particular the troubled life of a fashion designer. As a fashion designer myself, and having had many obstacles in my life to contend with, I could tell that this book would be one that would stay with me. This definitely heightened my interest in this book. 

I have to say, I finished this book in practically one day, not because it was so powerful, not because I'm a fast reader, but because I really wanted to publish the review as scheduled. Nevertheless, the fact that the writing and the plot were so captivating were vital to me having completed the book in one day.

Here is a beautiful summary of the book's content before I get into my actual review:

"Federico was a good artist but he was more troubled than he was talented. He had been hired and fired from several jobs over the years due to his unreliability. As he settled in at his latest job, his ghosts followed him and soon he realised that, however much he tried, this job was to be no different from his previous ones. Once again, he found himself succumbing to creative block and hence unable to meet the deadline for the required sketches. Running way from his problems and in desperate need of inspiration, he flew to St Petersburg. Little did he know that this spur-of-the-moment trip would be the beginning of a whole new chapter in his life. While in Russia, Federico had a chance encounter with the most enchanting woman he had ever seen, Black Angel, and the encounter led to a series of bizarre and hazy events resulting in his possession of the Sampo, a machine with such strong magical powers that it could make the owner's wishes come true."
This review is basically my reaction to having read this book and so I have given my honest feedback about the book.

Witchcraft Couture by Katarina West is a book with a unique and enchanting plot featuring magic, heartbreak, success and a lot of dramatic twists. Its unique in that nothing in this book exists without its opposite. Everything is balanced. The writing style adopted was a narrative one which allowed the main character to tell his own story, hereby allowing the reader to connect with the character so much so that the reader became the main character. Oweing to this fact, it felt as though you were listening to your thoughts throughout the book. I love that the introduction of the book featured a background of the fashion industry which was like the foundation for the plot of the book.

Writing Style/ Presentation:
I really appreciate books that, from the very first sentence, captivate you, set the tone, and demand your attention. Admittedly, a lot of books do this, but fail to deliver in its following content. By the time you’re a few chapters in, you feel duped and deprived of a compelling story with effective writing. Witchcraft Couture has both. A great story and good writing. I love that right from the start, the writing is effectively solid and follows through until the very last sentence. Many authors can tell a good story, but they’re not great writers. They’re passable and it doesn’t ruin the book, but it is a great author indeed who actually writes well and has a good story and can maintain it. West definitely does this. West's writing is compelling and beautiful, but accessible as well. Being accessible is key. There are authors who write beautifully, but their writing is tiresome to get through. Not true with this book. The writing is beautiful and well-crafted and easy to read. This is a great combination and is a better book because of it. I also really enjoyed the story of this book. It has a lot of heartache and some ups as well. I appreciate that the story wasn't all rainbows and sunshine and that the main character had a hard life where his persistence for success was real and relatable. This book does a great job of weaving a story that doesn’t vilify or glamorize things unnecessarily. The characters especially the main character Federico, are believable and most importantly relateable. The writing was so effective, so much that I felt as if I were looking through the main character's eyes. Additionally, the effectiveness of the author's writing is one where, I cared enough about what was going on and became caught up enough in the character and the setting, that I felt as though I couldn't bring myself to read about the imminent disaster. 

Organization of the book:
I would have appreciated if the pages of the book were numbered and also the chapters. This is probably my only reservation with this book since everything else was pretty much on point. Word choice, paragraph structure, wit, readability, length and the like. Kudos!

Purpose of the book:
I wholeheartedly believe that West has accomplished her purpose for writing this book, and that in itself is my favourite part of the entire experience. I instantly connected with the feeling of being insecure, battling with creative blocks, being kept up all night recounting the day's uncomfortable interactions and past life mistakes, working so hard hoping to succeed, but being dealt the failure card. This book revealed so much about the reality of battling and conquering personal demons, as well as how insecurities destroy you if you're not able go into the world having nothing to fear. Probably, most importantly, how our actions: truthful or deceitful does catch up to us.  I am not a new age person, but this fictional book helped me visualize the nonfictional impact of human communications. It also taught me that your actions can never be "taken back" even if you make it up later. I applaud the author's viewpoint and so I believe that this book does offer a new point of view on a well worn topic.

I think the sort of people who would like this book are middle aged persons, anyone interested in the journey of being human and anyone with an interest in the Arts, especially fashion.

Verdict/ Rating: 
West's nuggets of wisdom are nourishing. It is such a moving, interesting, unique, heart warming/breaking story. I recommend it to everyone. I rate this book 4 stars.

Visit Katarina's website to purchase her book: 

If you are an author and would like to have me review your work kindly contact me using the Blogger Contact Form located on the right pane on this blog.


Naballah Chi

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