Reviewed by Sarah Lelonek

Every once in a while I read a book and am pleasantly surprised by a fresh story and reading-style; The Thirteen by Susie Moloney was one of those books. Moloney takes a familiar topic, witches to be exact, and creates a new spin.

The Thirteen is set in a small community where thirteen women gave their souls in order to provide for their families and have everything they ever wanted. These women not only gave their souls, but had to give flesh as well to complete the transaction. All thirteen gave up a child or spouse in exchange for well-being.

The contract goes well until one of the thirteen’s husband dies. The woman, Chick, does not take the death well and decides to end the witches’ circle as well as her own life. Not only does Chick’s death hurt the other twelve, but the absence of a thirteenth member leaves the contract null and void. Terrible things start happening. One woman’s leg swells to the size of a water melon, leaving her dance career in shambles, while another’s fingers begin falling off one by one.

The only way to control the chaos is to find a thirteenth member who is related to the original thirteen. Luckily for these witches, a child of one member became pregnant at the age of 16 and took off.

The Thirteen is rich with twists and turns. I was never bored with the story, nor was I ever confused when the author changed points of view from chapter to chapter. She kept the story between the four main characters, which made the plot easy to follow.

Moloney used a unique writing style to give the reader insight into the characters’ thoughts and emotions. At first her breaks mid-sentence threw me off a little, but by the end of the story I grew to love them. The pauses within the text show light into how each character thinks.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who likes the supernatural. There are a few grotesque parts, but they’re done as tastefully as can be managed in such a situation. Moloney manages to connect the reader with her characters in an eery tale filled with plenty of surprises.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.