Book Review

The Witch And The Vampire

The Witch and the Vampire

  • Author: Francesca Flores
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2023
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books

Thank you to Goodreads and Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this book. I am providing my honest opinion voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: blood, mention of death of a parent, grief, mention of abuse, mention of experimentation, violence, captivity

A romantic, queer, paranormal retelling of Rapunzel.


Ava and Kaye used to be best friends. But vampires broke into their realm, killed Kaye’s mother, and turned Ava into a vampire. Kaye, now at the end of her training as a Flame witch, is ready to fulfill her duty to kill any vampires, including Ava.


To capture Ava, Kaye lures her into the forest—one filled with monstrous trees that devour humans, and vampires who attack from above. But are Ava and Kaye each other’s greatest threat or will their love for each other be their greatest strength?

When I heard about a sapphic retelling of Rapunzel featuring witches and vampires, I was really excited about this story. Seeing the gorgeous cover got me even more hyped about the book, and when I won a Goodreads giveaway, I was practically dancing with happiness. 

It’s not difficult to empathize with Ava, who was turned into a vampire against her will and trapped in her house by her mother. She’s the kind of character I loved right away, even as I found it a little more difficult to say the same about Kaye. She’s learned to cope with the death of her mother and the way that the community views her by putting up walls, focusing on her goals, and never showing any type of weakness. However, she’s also locked into this rigid form of thinking and refuses to even consider anything different. 

The fact that these two used to be best friends and then were separated, which led to Ava feeling alienated and missing her friend, while Kaye was fixated on killing all vampires, even Ava, puts a severe wedge in their relationship. But as they’re forced to work together, it calls into question everything they’ve thought about each other, and things that they learn make them reevaluate everything they believed as truth all along. Including how they viewed each other, and the growing feelings between them. 

The relationship that developed between them was believable, and I loved watching them start to reconnect and the give and take involved in rebuilding trust. There were some pretty big bumps along the way, but naturally circumstances intervene and keep bringing them together, and it was done really well. There’s a third member involved in their now-defunct little circle of friends, but we never really got to know him in depth, and it felt like he just served as a plot device to further the story and the relationship growing between Ava and Kaye. 

The parallels to Rapunzel are incorporated just enough without overwhelming the story, and they’re woven into a deeper plot line of parental abuse that made this story a bit dark. There are also some themes of racism and prejudice, but I didn’t feel like the aspects of racism and abuse were explored quite thoroughly enough. A lot of the story involved telling rather than showing, and skimmed over the emotional impact. It kept me from fully getting invested in the characters and their backstories, since it felt like I never really got deep enough in their psyches by focusing on their thoughts rather than their deeper emotions. 

Overall, this was an intriguing story. It was moderately paced, but held my attention and turned out to be a quick read. It’s suitable for younger readers, since nothing spicy actually happens, but the magic system was really cool and kept my attention, as well as where witches and vampires came from in this world. However, I would have liked to see more showing and less telling, and a deeper exploration of the racism and abuse, rather than just the prejudice in this world. But as a whole, this was an enjoyable read.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 20

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