Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars
Narrator: Kale Williams
Length: 6 hours, 21 minutes
Can the son of a powerful Witch Queen and the descendant of a Witch Hunter ever truly find love with one another? Cosmo is certainly hoping so. He loves John with all his heart, and John loves him, and now that they’re back from their honeymoon, Cosmo is ready to settle down and be the best husband he can be. It’s nice to be home with all their friends and family, even if John’s mother still detests Cosmo just as much as Cosmo’s mother detests John. Cosmo’s apprentice is still keeping secrets and there are dead bodies popping up here and there. So … nothing’s really changed.
Cosmo has been trying to gently retire from the magical world, rarely using his magic and mostly keeping out of coven affairs, but somehow it keeps sucking him back in. One white lie leads to another until, during one of their first real fights, Cosmo reveals his greatest secret to John. John doesn’t mind so much that Cosmo’s a witch … he minds the lies. Mostly, he minds the fact that someone used magic on him to make him think he loved Cosmo, who then tricked him into a marriage. So, John, angry and hurt and betrayed, leaves.
Trying to deal with the pain of loss and the guilt—because Cosmo knows John is right; he did trick him, he did lie to him, he did take advantage of him—Cosmo decides to, instead, focus on the murders. After all, it keeps he and John close and every bit of information he has, every idea, every bit of help, he can give to John. It’s a way to remind John he’s here, that Cosmo loves him, to try to keep the lines of communication open and maybe a way to make up for the loss of trust. The murderer, however, has other plans, plans that don’t involve Cosmo living long enough to make amends.
I Buried a Witch is the second book in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series and follows right on the heels of the first, Mainly By Moonlight. It’s a book best served by reading the series in order, both from a world building perspective, as well as helping explain the fraught relationship between Cosmo and John. Also, it’s just a good book and worth the read if you like magic, witches, and murder mysteries.
Cosmo has grown a bit, in this second installation. He’s not as starry-eyed about John’s perfection, in part because the love spell has fallen away and the man Cosmo is waking up to every morning, the man making him pancakes and who wants a pool in the backyard, is a man he’s still getting to know. And Cosmo wants to get to know John. He loves him, and every small facet of John that’s revealed to him only makes him love John more.
John never intended to marry. Not really. So falling head over heels for Cosmo and marrying him less than a month later came as much of a surprise to him as it did to his friends and family, but he loves Cosmo. However, what he wants from Cosmo is something else. For John, it’s very black and white, and so very simple. Cosmo does what makes John happy. No lies, no cheating, no disobedience. When Cosmo doesn’t give John his way, it’s cold silence. When Cosmo gives in, it’s love and affection. It’s calculated manipulation, and Cosmo is aware of it. He also feels he deserves it. Because of the way their relationship started, with John being under a love spell and Cosmo letting it happen and taking advantage of it, he feels a constant itch of guilt when dealing with John. It’s why he gives in. Not just as an apology, or an act of repentance, but because he does love John and wants him to be happy. And if all it takes is Cosmo being a little more willing to meet in the middle, is that so bad?
This book has quite a bit of plot and world building, but it’s main focus is on John and Cosmo and their relationship. Often, in the second book of a series, it’s outside forces tearing the couple apart. Here, it’s Cosmo’s own actions. He knew John wasn’t 100% willing, wasn’t 100% aware of the truth. And when John acuses him of being culpable, Cosmo can only agree in silence. And yet, he can’t let John go. He loves him, and he wants John to love him back. Even when he’s trying to brace himself for the idea that he might not get John back, Cosmo knows he’ll never love anyone the way he loves John.
Watching this candy castle crumble, watching Cosmo try to pick up the pieces was … okay, fun isn’t quite the right word. I was invested, and I felt for him because he was the guilty party, here. Cosmo never tried to excuse it, or wave it aside; he owned what he did. His pain when trying to get John to talk to him was palpable, and while I feel that things rushed too quickly and too pat to their conclusion, it didn’t feel un-earned or out of character, just too easy.
As before, I listened to the audiobook version of this story narrated by Kale Williams, who also did the first book, and I have to say … he’s really, really good at capturing Cosmo as a character. He manages to make this entire book feel like a story being told to us by Cosmo, rather than just a book. The monologues and exposition feel very personal in their delivery, and I love it. Cosmo is a very voicey character as it stands, and Williams manages to give it even more personality and more presence.
However, the other voices. Other than John, most of them don’t really stand on their own and it can be hard to tell them apart. Which works, in a way, because it’s almost as if it’s Cosmo doing their voices, or his interpretation of their voices. So while it isn’t technically perfect, I think with the way it’s delivered, it stands pretty close. I love the way Williams treats the character and the material and I think he’s probably, if not my favorite narrator, somewhere in the top three. Definitely pick up the audio version of this book.