Witch Born

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I read this over my two day mini vacation in the Appalachian Mountain region. Which if you ask  me, is the perfect place to read a witchy fall story. I was not actually responsible for having brought or chosen this book and I have NO IDEA if its a new release or very old ect. My sister brought it with from her school Library and it looked exactly right for the moment.

The story follows a young Elizabethan witch Alyce on the run from (basically everyone) witch hunters as she fights to find safety, solace and her place in the world. Along the way she encounters a cast of characters both historical and fantastical who ultimately lead her to a larger politically dangerous world and an even more dangerous truth.

Here’s the part where I admit that I didn’t love the book. Ugh. I hate it when I don’t love a book, truly I do. As a rule I love books (don’t we all) I love the way they feel in my hands, the way the pages sound and smell and even more I feel like the words people share are parts of their soul. So it’s not just that I have insanely limited to read time that makes me sad when I don’t love a book… its that somehow I feel like I am not respecting the aliveness of the tale.

ANYWAY, enough babbling, I suppose what I want to say here is that I think this was probably a lovely book..it just wash’t MY book. And a huge part of that is due to two factors.

  1. The first is that I was expecting more magic. The story is about witches, true witches, not just women in Elizabethan England being persecuted for otherness or just plain old fear of women. Those things are part of the story as they are part of history certainly but at the center of the plot were a whole lot of REAL witches, with magic (my favorite) and yet there was little use of the magic. And the magic they did have felt fuzzy and undeveloped in the narrative. I suspect this is really about personal preference but I like it when I can understand the structure and power of the magical world I am reading about. I don’t need things spelled out per se but if what I’m here for is the magic/supernatural/witchery ect well…
  2. The second is that this book sort of vaguely reminded me of the All Soul’s series (which I have loved for a long time) particularly the second book in the series Shadow of Night **small spoiler here for that book** ———-> Where the story takes place in STUNNINGLY well researched (due to the fact that that author has a PhD in the subject which is hard to come by lol) Elizabethan England. Unfortunately THAT book has a lot of the same characters and elements (seeing as they are historical) but it ALSO has a truly kickass witch with fully fleshed out magic (and vampires which I very much adore) so it’s hard to compete. So I am going to stop comparing now and move the heck on!!

So lets say I successfully manage to let go of my hang-ups.. what then?

Well then I think it’s actually a pretty good read! There is political intrigue (two queens!) and a chance to delve into a fascinating piece of history with a bit of fantasy to lead the way (which is my very favorite way to discover history!). I thought that the budding relationship between the sidekick was well handled, they fall instantly into fascination but love while hinted at, really doesn’t come into it. In fact I think I may have preferred the book overall if it had been told from his POV. Why? Possibly because he had a lot of information and a difficult and colorful backstory that felt more full than the MC. Somehow I felt like the author knew him better. Possibly because Alyce had a very small and sheltered life for REASONS prior to her forced adventure so her personality was just the tiniest bit empty.

Ok.. the REASONS…

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I wasn’t surprised. I know I said that in my last discussion. I may be hard to surprise who knows? I wasn’t fussed about it and it was a fun twist.

Here’s what I was fussed about.. in the last two min of the book Queen Elizabeth who is *gasp* Alyce’s REAL MOTHER. Puts her kid on a boat to America to live in hardship and poverty (and possibly go missing at Roanoke or cause Roanoke? Who knows, I made that part up) never to see her again and  and is like I love you so much also, BYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEE. 

And apparently we the reader are supposed to believe that this exchange not only conveys the depth of feeling that a Mother who has deeply loved and yearned for her child for years would have but ALSO that this is enough for both of them to have all the warm fuzzes and sail away in opposite directions happy and healed. Yeah, nope. I preferred the version of the story I was telling myself where Queen E vaguely cared for her child but cared for her Queenship more. I could accept that, and I wanted it to hit them both and propel them both into the future. But this version? The mother in me refuses to accept.

But hey, the Roanoke story I’ve made up might be an interesting sequel and I’d read it!

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Ummmmm ok.. so I realize after that that I maybe struggled with the book a bit more than I thought. I prefer to shower love and find the best in a story and I retain my claim that this book had all the goodness, it really just wasn’t my story. But it WAS a great book for the setting. And I appreciated it for being there (Is this starting to feel like a breakup speech?). If anyone has read and loved this book and wants to tell me about it from their perspective I would love to hear!!

Regardless, I am reading Bone Witch right now and I am 1000% IN LOVE so I will be back soon for non-complicated and problematic book adoration/discussion.

Oh and since In this recent incarnation of my blogging life I seem to be pairing my books with beverages. Here is the delicious local cider I was drinking for about 5 min out in the cool air with a peaceful mountain view. After that my toddler threw some leaves in my yummy warm cider sooooo yeah.

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