ARC Review: Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams


When Phil Williams reached out a couple of months ago asking if I wanted to read his latest book Dyer Street Punk Witches, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Williams’ books are typically a little out of my comfort zone and although I’ve only read his Ikiri Duology, I had such a good time reading them that I’m keen to keep reading more of his books. Check out my reviews for Kept from Cages and Given to Darkness.

On that note, today I’m excited to share my thoughts, a few favourite quotes, plus, one of (several) collectable character trading cards as provided by the author.
Special thanks to the author for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Dyer Street Punk Witches (Ordshaw #7)
Rumian Publishing
Publication Date: 12 September 2022
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)


Kit hung up her brass knuckles, but the shadows of her past always lingered. Now they’re back to claim her.

Kit “Fadulous” Hamley, magazine editor, activist and former punk rocker, is a well-known loudmouth in St Alphege’s. She works tirelessly to hold local authorities to account. Some say she’s making up for her criminal youth. Others spread rumours of witchcraft. Only a handful of people know how dark her secrets really are.

When an old friend warns Kit that a former rival has resurfaced, those secrets start to resurface. People have gone missing, with body parts and strange symbols left behind, and someone is stalking Kit. The gang she abandoned are scared stiff and her magic-wielding bandmates are long gone. Kit herself is a target, and if she can’t unravel exactly how this new feud connects with her past mistakes, it could kill her.

Decades older, a little wiser, and contrary as ever, Kit’s going to remind them all what a punk witch can do.

Get ready for a riotous ride into the seedy underbelly of St Alphege’s, where gang warfare and occult conspiracies tear ordinary lives apart. Dyer Street Punk Witches is a standalone urban fantasy thriller, packed with tough, subversive characters and tense twists – you won’t be able to put down.


Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

TL;DR: This was a refreshingly dark, thrilling and funny contemporary fantasy! Who knew cut-throat gangs, punk culture and anarchy, and witchcraft would not only mesh so well together in a story but be at turns so terrifying and bewitching? Williams balances character development and plot progression so well and writes an engaging story that will have you caring for these misfits and rooting for their success even while cringing at the violence of gang life and the messes they make. There were also a few plot twists that had me gasping because they were so unexpected and I loved it. I hope we get more with this motley coven cos I’d love to see what magic and mischief they get up to in the future!

“Sometimes the biggest step anyone needs towards doing the impossible is merely being able to conceive it’s possible.”

Dyer Street Punk Witches is a fascinating combination of contemporary, punk and gangster culture with a heavy dose of witchcraft and dark magic and it’s a mix that I didn’t think would mesh well but it really works! The writing moves rapidly making this a fairly quick read and there’s a certain humour in it that keeps the story from getting too dark and makes it so much fun to read. He also manages to effectively capture the changing atmosphere from scene to scene—from the riot-fuelled flashbacks in the years when the punk culture was at its peak to the more sombre and mature, but no less punk-inspired, scenes of the present day where the main story takes place. This is my first Williams book that’s fully set in the city of Ordshaw and the area around Dyer Street and the surrounding slums are dark and grimy and the air is laced with the dangers potentially lurking around the corner. It’s 100% the place I’d get mugged or killed within the first five minutes of stepping out! 😂

“You know as well as me that you introduce the idea of the supernatural and people’s imaginations do the rest.”

What I loved most about the world-building was the magic system and how it’s drawn from the energy of the world and all those that inhabit it. The magic that we see is mostly of the dark variety and has the ability to not only corrupt but suck souls into The Deep Dark the more that it’s utilised and channelled. The main plot focuses on solving the mysterious identity of a malevolent witch stalking Kit and the inexplicable events of dark magic being witnessed by gangsters across the slums in the present day. However, we also get flashbacks about the once inseparable punk-rock rising stars and fearsome witches, the Dyre Grrls, and the mystery of their past and the dissolution of their band. A lot of witchy magic is wielded by powerful kickass women in this book and it was fab!

“Do not be afraid, my sisters. Be briliant.”

“You’re inspiring, Kit. I don’t know about all your successes, or failures, but if you can inspire people, that’s more than most can do.”

What I’ve come to appreciate most about Williams’ books is how he balances the character development and plot progression so well and it’s no different here. The mystery, especially the few shocking twists at the end, had me speeding through the chapters but I was equally as curious about the characters’ stories too. There are three main POVs told through Kit, Aaron and Ellie with a few scenes from secondary perspectives. Kit Fadulous is the founder of Incite Ordshaw, the local zine and she’s quite simply a badass. She’s dedicated her life to fighting against the system and for justice against greedy oppressors, she takes crap from nobody and she won’t hesitate to punch you out if you step out of line. There are so many layers to her that get peeled back the further we get and it really made me root harder for her!

“…if a few more people let themselves enjoy fantasies of unicorns and fairies, then a few more people might also start imagining a world where you didn’t just accept that a self-serving society built on centuries of imperialism, patriarchy and nepotism is the best we can do.”

Aaron and Ellie work at Incite Ordshaw and they’re polar opposites in many ways, including one having an affinity for magic and the other not, but they both idolise Kit. I loved Aaron’s arc in particular! The guy’s an awkward and anxious mess but as tensions thicken and he spends more time in dangerous situations while learning about magic with Kit and opening up to Ellie, he steps out of his shell and grows into a semi-confident, albeit still fumbling, young man who has finally found his place. He’s pretty endearing! These characters were all flawed in some way and they don’t start off being the most likeable but they are realistically portrayed and they came to really grow on me over time.

“Magic sits on your shoulders forever, like a little devil tempting you whenever you’re over-tired or fed up. Just a little more, it tells you.”

Overall, this was another great contemporary fantasy with supernatural elements that had me hooked from beginning to end. All the elements were brought together so well and tied up quite nicely in the end. I hope that we get to revisit these characters again at some point in the future because I would honestly love to read more about this motley group and the magic and mischief they get up to!

Phil has created a collection of 14 character “trading cards” that’ll be shared across the blogosphere so be sure to check out social media to see other reviews and posts and the character cards they feature! 😍 I got Blake Loomus, the cheeky Canadian member of the Incite Ordshaw Magazine team. 😂 Definitely wish we saw more of him!

Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle. He lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Have you heard of Dyer Street Punk Witches or does it sound like something you’d enjoy reading?

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