Monday, 21 May 2018

Sophia Cobbs' Wondrous World of Witchcraft and Misery by Sophia Cobbs
Release Date: 5th December 2017
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genres: Fantasy

Have you ever tried to conjure up the perfect man? It’s not as easy as it might seem, even if you are a powerful and intelligent witch.
Petulia and Miss Level find out that there is more to finding Mr Right than just a flick of the wand, and poof…there he is! Their latest attempt is gorgeous – as long as you don’t mind the horns and the singing, which of course they do. But when they try to fix him they run into some serious problems. To make things even more complicated, a mysterious and handsome stranger appears. But there is something not quite right about him either…
Will Petulia and Miss Level be able to fix everything and can they use their witchcraft to overcome misery?

A muffled conversation between Petulia and Miss Level was a distraction for all the people in the audience, but they didn’t care. They were talking about important things. Like the weather. For some people this might have been a good indication of how badly the actors were performing. I mean, if the weather appeared to be more tantalising than the arts, there could only be something wrong with the arts. Unless the weather was actually extraordinary. I can understand that a hurricane would be very interesting, but the question is: who would go to the theatre in a hurricane?
Clearly Petulia and Miss Level. It makes you wonder if there actually were people around for them to distract. In any case, a performance during a hurricane has a valid reason for being below average. The actors were probably wondering how long the roof would hold up, and they had to shout to be heard over the howling wind.
When one of them finally noticed that the two audience members weren’t even paying attention, he signalled to his colleagues and one by one they left the stage to find safety in the basement of the theatre.
The last one shouted, “Switch off the lights before you leave,” which made Petulia raise her hand in affirmative response.
And then they were alone.
“Finally! It took them long enough.” Petulia grabbed her canvas bag from the seat next to her and stood up.
“Well, you know how daft actors are.” Miss Level waited for Petulia to squeeze past her between the rows of chairs, then picked up her own bag and followed. Instead of going to the exit, they crossed the room and walked up to the stage. Petulia fished a piece of chalk out of her bag and started to draw a pentagram on the floor of the stage. “It’s almost ten o’clock. We’ll never get this done in time.” Three points were already drawn.
“Nonsense. We’ve got all the time in the world.” Miss Level stopped at the first point and put a bowl filled with herbs on the tip. She rummaged through her bag again and found another bowl for the next tip and so on. When the entire thing was drawn and supplied with the right herbs at the right points, Petulia put her hand in her bag again and found two boxes of matches. She threw one to Miss Level on the other side of the pentagram, who, by some miracle, caught it perfectly. Then she checked her watch: 9:59. She glanced up.
“Are you ready?”
Miss Level had a match in her hand, ready to light it on the box. “Ready.”
Petulia kept her eyes on her watch while pulling a match out of her own box. “Now!”
Both women lit their matches, waited a full second with their eyes closed and then blew them out. At the same time as the flames died, the herbs in the bowls caught fire. The women spread their arms and started chanting indiscernible words. The smoke began to whirl around between them, creating a sort of vortex. This went on for ten minutes. Just when Petulia was about to ask if they were doing it right, a shadow appeared in the smoke. First it seemed like the smoke just got darker, heavier. But then it started to dissipate and they could clearly make out the form of a man. The smoke cleared completely and the chanting stopped.
Petulia put her hands on her hips. “Damn it. We did something wrong.”
Miss Level, who had a clear view of the man’s naked backside and was very distracted by it, asked, “What?”
“He’s not supposed to have horns.”
Miss Level’s eyes slowly roamed up the man’s body until she could see the unmistakable horns. She grinned. “Well, at least he doesn’t have a tail this time.”

When I was asked to tour with this book I initially thought it was going to be a fantasy rom-com of sorts. However, the book turned out to be something entirely different. As I started reading it I thought it read more like a book directed at young teens. However, there were bits of the book more suited to an older readership. So, then I became slightly confused, which isn't difficult for me! So, here I am unsure as to how to classify this book.  So, lets get a bit more about what the story is about. 

Basically, two witches, Petulia and Ms Level have been commissioned by a petulant princess to create the perfect man for her. After a number of spells that have gone horribly wrong in the past, with a number of men that looked horribly wrong, the witches give the spell another go and produce the lovely Gabriel. He's perfect, apart from the horns on his head! Unbeknownst to the witches, something else crawled out of the darkness as a result of the spell. Another man called Adam who appears to have an insatiable appetite for people who he simply views as his next meal. He soon finds his way into the secret realm of the witches which is hidden behind the facade of an ordinary house in an ordinary street. And so, a series of strange events take place in the witches quest to find the right spell book to rid Gabriel of his horns while Adam tries to navigate his way in their world, continually getting it wrong. The witches don't bargain for the fact that Gabriel will have such an impact on one of them making things a lot more if they couldn't become any more complicated for them.

A short read and a good book to disappear into for a bit of silly escapism with a pair of temperamental and bickering witches. If some of the more adult themes were taken out of the book it would make it the perfect book for older primary school children as I think the language and writing would appeal to this age group. Or, more adult themes to make it more appealing to an adult audience. There's so many ways this book could go. For me though, it reads like a young adult fairy story which is absolutely fine as I like a good fairy story. One criticism I do have is that it ended quite abruptly with some unanswered questions and this is perhaps done in such a way to make the reader desperate for a book 2 to continue the story. Very clever. I felt sorry for the poor dog in the book. He really had his work cut out! Poor pooch! I also enjoyed how Gabriel communicated! Read it for yourself to find out more!


Sophia Cobbs was born in 1982 in Dendermonde, Belgium. She has always had a fondness for writing. In high school she wrote poems and short stories but mostly kept them to herself. This is her first novel.
When she isn’t writing or directing, she is doing one of two things: her day job as Office Manager for an IT company, or scouring wine tastings with her long-term boyfriend.


                                                                 Twitter: @cobbs_sophia

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