Intrigued by what we read, we checked her out on Amazon.com, and found that she writes books in the witch niche. (That probably sounds like some a crazy rhyme to Americans, but I’m British and “niche” is pronounced “neesh”, not “nitch”.)
Anyway, as we have plans to publish some paranormal fiction stories, we decided we’d buy one of her books, and as A Modern Witch was the first in a series, we chose that one – it has a ton of reviews, the vast majority of which are very good. (If the number of 1-star reviews of any product, including books, is more than 10%, or even 5% if we’re being picky that day, of the total number of ratings, then we tend to ignore the product, but this was not a problem with this book at all.)
The only thing that slightly put me off was the number of pages – there are about 305 in the printed version.
Now, I used to read a lot of books (several every week), most of which were probably 400 pages or more, so it wasn’t the length per se that caused me concern. (I even read the full Lord Of The Rings trilogy in about two days, so length alone doesn’t bother me.)
But here’s the problem: sadly, most of what I’ve read recently has been novella or short story length, and there are two main problems with the majority of these pieces of writing:
- There is no ending, or if there is one, it feels far too rushed. This leaves you hanging, wondering what the point of it all was, not to mention the bad taste in your mouth from having your time wasted. (This also happens way too often in movies these days too, by the way.)
- The ending is deliberately cut short so that you’ll buy the next book in the series. Now, I’m not against a series of books, but each one should stand on its own – splitting what’s really only one book into several smaller ones as a marketing ploy is underhand and bordering on the unethical, in my view.
And that was what worried me – was I going to spend my valuable time reading through 300+ pages, only to find that I was left unsatisfied because of the ending (or, more accurately, the lack thereof)?
In spite of this possible issue, I decided to go ahead and read it anyway, based on the reviews by other readers, and on a gut feel that maybe this book would be different.
So, what did I think of it?
Well, I have to confess that the first chapter really didn’t work for me at all. I’m not exactly sure why, but it just didn’t grip me.
However, I have a long-standing policy of giving novels a minimum of 50 pages before I give up on them, and I’m very glad that I didn’t cast this one aside after that first chapter, because from then on, I was totally hooked.
I know that saying a book is a real “page turner” is a bit of a cliché, but it’s the best way to describe A Modern Witch that I can think of. (Actually, reading a Kindle version of this book on my Android smartphone makes it even more compulsive – I think it’s because each page, or screen if you will, is so small, that you keep thinking, oh go on, I’ll just read one more page, it won’t take long – and so it continues until you’ve read another chapter, or two.)
So, here’s what I particularly liked about this story:
- All of the main characters were not only very believable, but also very personable, and you really felt like you’d known them as friends for ages.
- The mechanics of the witchcraft (i.e. how the spells were cast and the magic happened) were very well thought out and described creatively.
- The story itself was engaging, and has the obligatory happy ending.
Was there anything I didn’t like (apart from the first chapter)?
If anything, and this is more a reflection on me than the book itself, I found the number of different characters too hard to keep track of. I think the reason for this is that, as I said above, I’ve not really read many full-length novels for years now, and I think I’m just out of practice.
This certainly wasn’t a major issue for me, but there was at least one of the minor characters that, by the end of the book, I couldn’t quite place in terms of where she fitted in.
Did it ruin it for me? No, not at all. I just need to pay more attention in future, I guess!
So, in conclusion, I can say that this was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read – great story, great characters, fun, a touch of romance, and an actual ending that satisfied me.
To tell the truth, I was disappointed when I did reach the end – but that’s only because I wanted to carry on reading more, so I guess that means I’ll have to get the second book in this series now.
Even if you don’t think you’ll like a story based around witches (it wasn’t a genre I’d read before), I really do believe you’ll like this book – after all, there’s nothing not to enjoy about this beautifully-crafted story.
Give A Modern Witch a try – I’m confident you’ll be glad that you did.