Proceed With Caution:
This book contains violence, blood, death, murder, mind control, and two mentions of rape and suicide.
Witches Steeped in Gold is narrated by Jazmyne, the current heiress of Aiyca, and Ira, an escaped prisoner who is the Lost Empress. Both girls have been brought up to the hate the other, but the current political situation gives them a common enemy: Jazmyne's mother and current ruler.
I was super duper excited for Witches Steeped in Gold because it sounded magical and exciting and intriguing! At times it is those things, but overall I was left feeling underwhelmed and honestly, confused. The description promises a lot and doesn't exactly deliver. Jazmyne and Ira don't exactly become allies. They do enter an oath to take down Jazmyne's mother together, but they both had ulterior plans to betray the other. It's very twisty, but not what I went in expecting.
Witches Steeped in Gold is set on an island based on Jamaica and rooted in Caribbean Lore. I really enjoyed this setting as it was refreshing and different than other popular YA Fantasy series. However, the worldbuilding was lacking. I found myself confused a lot, mostly about all of the different groups of people. Are they all magical? Are they the same race but live in different areas? Who are enemies and who are allies? Why do some have silver hair? I just have no idea.
The plot of Witches Steeped in Gold was very slow. It is 550 pages so it has plenty of space to build up tension and plot twists, but I found my mind wandering at times because it dragged. It was also hard to keep Jazmyne and Ira's perspectives straight. They sound exactly the same, and the only thing that distinguishes them is that Ira is willing to kill and Jazmyne probably wouldn't even swat a fly. But there's really not that many chapters with murder to help with that.
Witches Steeped in Gold was fine. I enjoyed the unique setting and the magic system (using gold as a conduit!), but I also needed more to actually understand and get immersed. The two leading ladies are fine, but not distinct enough. The plot had a lot of intrigue and betrayals and twists, but it dragged on and got confusing. It was just fine.