Review: An Incantation of Cats (Book #2: Witch Cats of Cambridge Series) by Clea Simon

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When two new clients seek Becca’s professional services, the fledgling witch detective is overjoyed. Finally, she can use her skills to help her magical community. But as the young witch finds the new cases intertwining, things grow more complicated. Becca’s three cats – the ones with the real power – can smell something is wrong with these clients. But not even Clara, the calico, knows what to do when a man ends up dead and a powerful and poisonous root appears – and disappears – in the case. To make matters worse, Clara and her littermates are feuding – and she can’t tell them about an unsettling interaction she’s had with one of the client’s sisters. Is it possible that some humans may have the same powers as the magical felines? What does that mean for Clara’s beloved Becca – and for the potent poison that has already taken one person’s life? In this second Witch Cats of Cambridge mystery, Clara and her sisters must learn to work together if they are to save the person they all love.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley and Polis Books          Rating: 2/5 stars

I would like to make it clear from the very beginning, I went into this book with a good attitude and true hope for a solid book that had worked out all the kinks found in the first book.  Alas, my hopes were once again dashed. 

I had really hoped from book one to two, Becca would have figured out she is, in no way whatsoever, magically inclined.  Becca is one of those very sweet, very kind souls who ultimately find herself earning a Darwin award – that’s funny if you know what the Darwin’s are 😊  Not only has Becca not realized she has no magical abilities but she has also decided to turn down a real job in favor of advertising herself as a Witch Detective.  Inexplicably, not only is Becca hired, but she is approached by two clients on the same day. 

In truth, it is Becca’s three cats who have the magical abilities though they are forbidden to reveal them to their people.  The youngest of Becca’s cats, Clara is the most devoted to Becca and the one most interested in helping her human succeed.  Clara often finds herself out in the real world chasing after Becca and learning all she can in order to help Becca work out the solution to her problems.  Though Clara is young, she is crafty and clever – far more so than her human – and finds ways to nudge Becca in the right direction.  More often than not, Clara has to enlist the help of her older and far more awful sisters as they have abilities different from Clara’s and necessary for helping Becca.

Against the advice of literally everyone she knows, Becca continues to investigate multiple crimes that are all, ultimately linked to one another.  From the beginning, everyone involved is lying and/or hiding something, everyone is terrified of being caught, and no one actually wants to involve the people who can actually help them, the police.  Each new clue Becca uncovers leads her closer to the truth, but, as is her wont, it also leads her right into real danger.  Thankfully, Becca’s cats are far smarter than she is and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to save Becca from herself. 

The Bottom Line:  I just don’t even know where to begin.  I sincerely wanted this book to be better than the first but that just didn’t happen.  So many of the complaints I had from the first book crop up again in this installment.  Topping my list is Becca’s naivete and reckless behavior; she is utterly convinced she has magical powers because of a pillow which has, in turn, led her to start a business as a witch detective.  Though her research skills are strong, Becca has no experience or business working as a detective and that is made abundantly clear in this book!  I was also very much hoping the cats would even out and become more likeable in this book but that didn’t happen either.  Once again, the two older cats are wretched and treat Clara with contempt most of the time.  I say this as a cat lover ☹  Finally, I found myself skipping over large passages because of the repetition – there’s only so many times you can read about how much a cat loves her person – and the predictability of the plot.  I always like to try and find something positive to say about a book, but alas, I just can’t come up with anything this time around.

Releasing January 14, 2020: Amazon| Kobo| Hardcover| Audible

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