Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Witching Moon by K.E. Bonner

 Today's review is one I picked up on Netgalley because I loved the cover and description. Before I started reading it, I glanced through the reviews on Goodreads and, after seeing so many 1-star and 2-star reviews and the harsh comments, was pretty sure this would be one to shove to the side after the first chapters. But I was so wrong.

That's why I'm going to shout this one out louder...because this book is well written (better even than many I've read this year) and will delight fans of magic, strong heroines, gods/goddesses, and, it weaves in a tiny bit of the Civil War, mistreated tribes, the horrible slave traders, and even a bit of romance. 

In other words, this author deserves more credit than she's been my humble opinion.

by K.E. Booner
Brandylane Publishers, LLC 
Young Adult Historical Fantasy

Once in an eon, when the Earth eclipses the moon on a winter solstice, an immortal is born under a witching moon. Anne has always had the strangest feelings—memories she couldn’t place; strangers she inexplicably yearned for.

After she rescues the enigmatic Phillip from a shipwreck, her comfortable life on the island of Cusabo is shattered, and the mystery of her destiny starts to fall into place. Anne leaves behind the life she’s always known and sets out with Phillip on an arduous journey to Amaranth, where her ancient family awaits her. But the path is dark and daunting, and Anne’s powers have only just begun to manifest.


Triggers: Violent fight scenes, death, threats of rape 


The original setting creates a rich and intriguing world, where magic, a hunt, and gods and goddess struggle to capture one girl. In other words, this one was a very good read.

Orphaned, Anne lives happily on an island with her loving, adopted family. When a man is shipwrecked on the shore, she uses powers she was born with to heal his wounds and learns that he's been searching for her across the globe. He claims she's not only an immortal but a highly-adored, reborn one. And he isn't the only one searching for her. While he is kind and claims to want to bring her back to her sister...a girl she sees in her dreams, others are on the hunt to find her as well. Each of them will do anything to get her, and none have her best interests in mind. She's forced to run but knows her chances of escaping are slim, especially since they are also immortals and cannot die. 

I picked this one up on Netgalley thanks to the description. The idea of a teenage girl with powers being hunted down during the time of the Civil War definitely struck me as original. And I'm so glad I picked this one up because it was everything I hoped it would be. This was one of those books, which I couldn't put down until I reached the very last page.

The writing in this one is well done and very much for the young adult audience. The author weaves a rich and intriguing world, which is hard not to get lost in. And I loved all of the aspects thrown in. Anne is raised on an island by a Indian midwife, whose tribe has merely survived and continues to do so because they live secluded on the island. There is a wonderful family bond and so much love and caring, that it's hard not to like them all from the start. It sets the basis for Anne's character nicely—kind, compassionate, naive and curious. I liked her from the get-go. Her character arc was very well done. The first chapter begins with her living a very secluded life, and her behavior as well as speech follows that sort of up-bringing. But as the tale unfolds and she's shoved into a harsh world, she grows with experience. The backstory, which is slowly revealed, adds the needed foundation as she unfolds to an amazing heroine page by page.

Then, there's the Civil War raging in the background...and this really stays in the background. It's mentioned as she runs with her hero across the U.S., but they only come face-to-face with it when they run into slave hunters. I adored the scenes with an escaped slave girl they meet, and enjoyed the slight addition of tiny bits of history. And yet, all of this was more like a dusting on the side of the main plot.

Action and tension are key in these pages. Anne is running from very dangerous hunters, and everything is at stake. There are sword scenes, injuries and death. And it's impossible to guess what will happen next or if anyone they meet can even be trusted. Or even if her supposed hero is all that he claims to be. It's simply exciting from beginning to end.

I highly recommend this one to young adult fantasy fans, who love a bit of history, strong heroines, tons of action, and even a bit of romance thrown in. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.

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