The Witch’s Blood

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalment of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels [here] and [here].

The Witch’s Blood was written by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr and is due for release later this month. It forms the final part of The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy, focusing on Merry’s continuing mission to free her brother from the influence of an evil wizard. As this story carries on directly from where The Witch’s Kiss (2016) and The Witch’s Tears (2017) left off, I would recommend reading the novels in sequence to have a full grasp of what is going on.

Although the coven was against it, Merry refused to believe that Leo could be dead. Using forbidden blood magic, Merry and Finn followed Ronan through the intersection and found themselves in a strange world. Although it shares some similarities with the world of Jack’s stories, the land is filled with legendary beasts and Ronan’s army of mesmerised humans is slowly starting to seize control of everything.

With the help of this world’s Jack and Meredith, they begin a frantic hunt for Ronan. They know that their time is limited as the wizard is now completely unhinged. It can’t be long before he either turns on Leo or condemns him to a life as the new King of Hearts. However, Merry slowly starts to realise that their magic has taken a terrible toll on the world. Reality is slowly starting to warp, and their hasty spells can be the only cause.

The affects of their magic are also beginning to spread through Merry’s world. People are being attacked and killed by things that should not exist, and black holly bushes are beginning to sprout around the lake. If Merry can’t defeat Ronan soon, the boundary between the worlds will crumble. Yet the cost of repairing the damage could be more than she is prepared to pay…

I’m pleased to say that The Witch’s Blood was an incredibly strong finale to the trilogy. Although the series has had its share of problems, Merry hit the ground running in this instalment. It picked up exactly where the end of The Witch’s Tears broke off, with Jack holding a knife to Finn’s throat. While I did find this cliff-hanger to be jarring, at least it meant that there was no slow build up in The Witch’s Blood. The novel is quick to catch the reader’s interest as Merry sets out on her mission to save her brother’s life.

However, the story doesn’t maintain this pace for long. This first mission only takes up about the first 170 pages of the novel. After this, the pace slows down once again and did lag a little in places over the second act. However, even in these slower moments, Ronan’s presence was still felt and the tension slowly began to mount up.

The Witch’s Blood isn’t always a light read. While it’s never inappropriate for young adult readers, it does still contain some very dark moments. Ronan tortures people, both physically and mentally, and major characters do die. While the previous instalments detailed the stifling rules of the coven, this book really explores the darker side of magic. For the first time, it becomes clear why the coven is so strict. Dark magic in this world carries a terrible risk. People using it can unwittingly tear holes in reality or hurt their friends. Ronan’s poppet spell was especially horrifying, making it difficult to see how Merry and the rest of the coven would have any hope of surviving their final battle against him.

While I’ve already complained enough about the ending of The Witch’s Tears, I did think that this book concluded a lot better. It neatly wrapped up all of the loose ends in a way that felt final. I don’t want to spoil it for you here but I will say that it’s a little bittersweet, but still provides a powerful and memorable ending to the trilogy. While there is still room for Merry to perhaps have further adventures in the future, it certainly closes off this stage of her magical journey very neatly.

In terms of characterisation, The Witch’s Blood was at its strongest. The previous instalment saw a rift forming in Merry and Leo’s friendship. While this was occasionally frustrating to read, it was still understandable given the trauma that the two of them had suffered at the hands of Gwydion. This time around, they are closer than ever. I loved how Leo’s faith in Merry never wavered, even after months of Ronan’s torture, and the lengths that Merry would go to in order to save her brother.

However, the book was clearly intended to by Merry’s story. It reflected how much she had grown since she was an egotistical teenager who only used her magic for self-gain. It’s here that she truly differs from Ronan. While her power is equally as strong as his, Ronan has never learned the same serious life-lessons. While he yearns for power, Merry has learned the hard way that it’s a corruptive force and gradually found an appreciation for what she has.

As a villain, Ronan was also a lot more threatening this time around. While he was suspicious for a lot of The Witch’s Tears, in this novel the gloves are off. Ronan does not understand love, only possession. His sense of ownership stretches to Leo, who he describes in terms of being an object that has been promised to him. He’s also not above using emotional blackmail to bend characters to his will, playing people against each other by threatening the lives of others. Because of this, it was far more terrifying than Gwydion ever was.

However, I do still have a couple of issues with the characters in this story. For one thing, they were all a little gung-ho. Leo and the witch’s of the coven were all a bit too eager to get their hands dirty, burning and stabbing their way through Ronan’s mostly-human army without any thought about the ramifications of their actions. I know Ronan is terrible and all, but Leo was left traumatised by Dan’s death in the first book. It seemed out of character to see him running around stabbing people in this story.

Finn’s budding relationship with Merry also still felt a little flimsy. In this novel, they even went as far as professing their love and spending the night together, despite only having known each other for a couple of weeks at the most. This was just far too fast for my liking, as it really lacked the subtle development that we previously saw in Ronan and Leo’s relationship. It should also be noted that Merry and Finn are aged seventeen and nineteen respectively. While this is totally okay by the laws of the United Kingdom, it might not be so acceptable in all cultures.

Anyhow, I think I’ve probably said enough. While it wasn’t perfect, I did really enjoy reading this series on the whole. The characters and setting are memorable and I found the books to be very easy to get into. If you’re a fan of magic and urban fantasy stories, it’s certainly one that I’d recommend looking out for.

The Witch’s Blood is due for release on 8th March and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.co.uk

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: YA Shot 2018 Tour – Featuring Katharine and Elizabeth Corr | Arkham Reviews
  2. Trackback: The Sobeks 2018 – Part 1 | Arkham Reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog Stats

  • 61,482 awesome people have visited this blog

© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All novels reviewed on this site are © to their respective authors.

%d bloggers like this: