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Like A Curse by Elle McNicoll – Published by Knights Of.

I thought all my Christmases had come at once when a copy of Like A Curse arrived in the last of the post just before the big day itself. This was the best early Christmas present! I am a huge Elle McNicoll fan and was eagerly anticipating the return of Ramya Knox in the spellbinding sequel to Like A Charm.

If you need to get up to speed with how this compelling fantasy duology begins, click on the cover below to read my review of Like A Charm.

Enter a world of secrets and spells with mythical creatures and magic aplenty.

When we pick up the story again, Ramya’s beloved Edinburgh has fallen into the deadly grip of the Sirens. With her newly discovered powers, Ramya desperately wants to protect her friends – Edinburgh’s mystical ‘Hidden Folk’ – but her family flee the city to Loch Ness and the safe haven of her Grandparents’ home. The house has a magical forcefield around it meaning Ramya, her mother, aunts and cousin Marley are undiscoverable. But it’s not long before Ramya’s feisty personality gets the better of her and in trying to prove herself, she is tricked by the most powerful Siren of all and unwittingly gives away the family’s whereabouts.

Ramya and Marley are under strict orders from her Aunt Opal – the imfamous and supremely powerful Heartbroken Witch – not to leave the cottage. Instead, under Opal’s watchful eye she must study her craft and learn how to hone her skills to use her magic properly. Ramya feels like a constant disappointment to Aunt Opal and emails from her friend Freddy confirm her worst fear; the crisis in Edinburgh is worsening as the city slips further under Siren control. Frustrated by her elders’ apparent lack of action, Ramya once again takes matters into her own hands. With the help of cousin Marley and many mythical creatures, she returns to the city. But with her magical ability still at an emergent stage, Ramya has to fight with every ounce of her resolve to outwit The Fae and take on her family’s arch enemy…

Elle’s signature compassion and her pursuit of representation for neurodivergent young people shines from the pages. Like Elle, tween protagonist Ramya Knox has a diagnosis of Dyspraxia, a condition that affects motor skills and processing, but she refuses to let this define her and she absolutely won’t be told what she can and can’t do!

Family dynamics, friendships and a tiny touch of romance make this such a heartwarming story alongside fast-paced twists, turns and gasp-out-loud moments. I can’t wait to see what Elle writes next!

Like A Curse is published by Knights Of and is out on the 2nd February 2023.

With thanks to Knights Of and Annabelle Wright at ed Public Relations for giving me the opportunity to read this much anticipated book in advance of publication.

Elle McNicoll is an award-winning Scottish Children’s author. Her debut novel, A Kind of Spark won the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s book prize. A TV adaption of A Kind of Spark from BBC Children’s and 9 Story Media will be airing in Spring 2023 which I absolutely cannot wait for!


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