Witchbane ★★★★☆ [Review]


Book: Witchbane

Author: Morgan Brice

Series: Witchbane (Book #1)

Genre: M/M Romance; Paranormal Fantasy; Mystery

Pub date: 02/19/2018

Pages: 275

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Source: Netgalley

Seth Tanner and his brother Jesse’s fun evening debunking local urban legends ends with Jesse’s gruesome murder. Seth vows revenge on Jesse’s killer – too bad the murderer has been dead for a hundred years. Seth uncovers a cycle of ritual killings that feed the power of a dark warlock’s immortal witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on stopping Jackson Malone from becoming the next victim. He’s used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.


Please note: This book was provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley to give an honest review. I will keep spoilers to the end of the review. I never go into a lot of detail in my reviews because why would you read the book if I told you everything that happens with my personal bias that you may or may not agree with if you’d have read it yourself?

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read a book with the sole purpose to review it so I wanted to choose a book that sounded intriguing. I was first drawn to the beautiful cover art by Lou Harper. And, of course, the genres. Reading the description I was a bit confused but decided to delve in nonetheless. Better to have a slightly confusing description than one that gives away the entire plot.

Our main characters were Evan aka Jackson aka Sonny and Seth. All of the characters save the antagonist had very average names. Indeed I have nephews named Evan and Seth. I find this disappointing and uncreative on the author’s part. I’m not a fan of using very popular names in fiction. For me, reading those names always brings to mind the many people I know with it. For example Mike which I can name several offhand including my ex.

Despite my annoyance with their names, I did grow to like both Evan and Seth. But, it wasn’t until at least halfway through the book. I even thought to myself at one point that they were a bit boring. I know, how could magic and evil witch stalkers be boring? But that’s the outlying threat not their individual personalities. It wasn’t until they began to struggle with their relationship and the circumstances that I started to get a real feel for their characters.

I enjoyed the way they met anticipating that first meeting is my favorite part about romance books. They had chemistry from the start and it was quite steamy indeed. The author gave them a very good basis for a relationship beyond just physical chemistry and went as far as to show the readers how great they were together before Seth discovered that Sonny is the person he was there looking for in the first place. How convenient. Fate perhaps? The romance scenes were steamy but not overdone. Although, I wouldn’t suggest this to a reader new to the genre as a first gay romance.

There weren’t really any supporting characters save Seth’s employer and fellow paranormal beastie hunter, Toby. There are some of Seth’s cohorts mentioned once or twice that I expect will pop up in following books. Evan’s boss and co-workers are barely mentioned after the beginning into type part other than the one who shows up in the very end.

Overall, the plot was well done and fairly seamless. The author gave just enough information about the history and current struggle to not confuse the reader with needless details. Save one thing that I will mention in the spoilers. It was fairly fast paced with romance and such interspersed with the overall conflict. There were very few grammatical or punctual errors and I was shocked to see it mentioned in someone’s Goodreads review. I’d say less than a handful. I’ve seen more in some very popular author’s books.

I was quite pleased with the ending and feel this could be the start of a very good series if done well. There is a novella and second book in the series already both of which are highly rated. The author Morgan Brice also has another m/m paranormal romance series called Badlands.

“The knife will fall on the stroke of midnight. That’s how magic works”

-Toby

Possible spoilers below…

I suppose I should start with the part I mentioned above in which the details got a bit confusing. In the beginning, with Seth and his brother Jesse, there was something to do with a train. Later, when Evan began talking about a train derailment that apparently happened in Richmond I got confused. Was there two train derailments? What on earth does that have to do with anything? Are trains somehow linked to the overall plot and I missed it?

Another thing that bothered me was the duffle bag. I know I know what a weird thing to fixate on but that’s the type of reader I am. When an author mentions something more than once I assume it has something to do with the plot. Supposedly, the duffle was packed for a camping trip with “friends.” It’s also mentioned when in Evan’s apartment that there are pictures of him out on various excursions with “friends.” But, no friends are ever mentioned save a few from work that I’d say were more acquaintances than anything. Indeed, near the end of the book, Evan has a sort of revelation that he has no friends holding him there in Richmond. Personally, I’d have made the duffle there in case he needed to leave quickly if the stalker ex showed up.

Next was something you’ll likely find so silly but I feel like the author missed an opportunity to add a bit more mystery to the plot. At the very end, when the ritual was about to take place, items were put out onto the altar from all of the previous victims. Things like pocket watches and trinkets. And, as Evan’s contribution, a wallet. What? Seriously? Why not something more important to him that he lost at the beginning of the book and looked for and was disappointed he couldn’t find it? Instead, it’s his wallet which must have been taken from him that day as it had never been mentioned that I could remember as being lost.

Yes, I know, silly things niggle at me when I read. Perhaps, upon re-reading the book, some of these things would make more sense.

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