Top critical review
Good concept, execution leaves much to be desired
Reviewed in the United States on August 1, 2019
Once again, I like the idea of this book more than the reality of it. As fun as the boys vs girls storyline is, it can't make up for the fact that Sophie is one of the most unlikeable characters I have ever read. It's not surprising that the middle book in a trilogy is the weakest of the three plot-wise, that's expected and doesn't bother me. What's irritating is that this is probably the most sympathetic Sophie is in the entire trilogy and she's still insufferable.
Sophie, it seems, has learnt nothing from her time as a witch. She's still selfish, still manipulative, still cares only about her own happiness even if it comes at the expense of everyone else's. Which would be great, if she were a villain. Problem is, she's not. She's one of the main protagonists and she's just flat out awful. She is the entire reason the main conflict in this book happens, but still we're supposed to believe that she and Agatha are best friends. While that's more believable in most of this book than the previous one, it still doesn't quite hold up. It seems far more that Agatha is doing all she can to be Sophie's friend while to Sophie Agatha is simply a means to an end.
I like the idea of a book addressing the difficulties of balancing a best friend and a boyfriend. It's an issue that doesn't come up often enough in YA and middle grade stories, despite romance nearly always being a key plot point. But Sophie is not a good enough friend to warrant the excuses Agatha and the narrative constantly make for her. She continues to be a selfish, manipulative, petty girl who shouldn't be trusted. Even here where she's probably at her most sympathetic and trying to not be a terrible person. Agatha choosing Tedros over her is the only bright spot and it's ruined by the fact that the pair of them still think she's redeemable.