Witch Hunt / Wolfsbane by Rachel Rawlings, R Squared Publishing, p/b, £7.97 / £3.32, Kindle, £3.32 / £1.26, Author’s website
Reviewed by Dave Brzeski
It’s well over a year since I reviewed ‘The Morrigna’, the first book in this series. In that review, I said that there were some issues with the author’s plotting, but I definitely wanted to read more of the adventures of Maurin Kincaide.
As you may have assumed from the disparate pricing, books 2 and 3 aren’t of equal length. Book 2, ‘Witch Hunt’, runs to 332 pages in the paperback edition, while book 3, ‘Wolfsbane’, is a 78 page novella. I should mention at this point that a Kindle “box set” of the first three books (‘The Morrigna’, Witch Hunt’ and ‘Wolfsbane’) is available for just 77p on Amazon. I actually ditched my doc file review copies and bought this for the sake of convenience.
I’m happy to say that those plotting weaknesses have definitely been ironed out. I found these two follow ups to be a much better paced read.
‘The Morrigna’ left Ms Kincaide with new friends, relationships and a new job, as liaison between the SPTF (Salem’s Preternatural Task Force) and the The Council: the governing body of Others. Having established these relationships, Rachel Rawlings turns everything on its head in ‘Witch Hunt’, with a series of surprising plot twists and betrayals. An adversary from the first book becomes a friend—albeit still something of an irritant in her life. The level of violence reminds us that this is no comfortably sweet paranormal romance. Maurin finds out the truth about her real father, acquires a dog and a new boyfriend. By the end of the book, there is a new status quo at The Council, which is probably not going to lead to a time of peace and prosperity for all.
In ‘Wolfsbane’, which takes place almost immediately after the previous book, Maurin has family problems—her mother is quite possibly the worst monster in the book, despite being human. We also have our first real exposure to the fae. One has to assume they aren’t all as vile as the ones we meet in this book. I can’t help but feel that “fairy” could never be a pejorative term for gay, or foppish in Maurin’s world. Maurin’s sister is getting married, but, naturally, there are problems. It’s a classic romcom setup, except in the average romcom, the main protagonist doesn’t have to juggle sorting out their family mess at the same time as she’s supposed to be overseeing a challenge for the position of Alpha of the local werewolf pack, as part of her Council obligations. As in the previous book, there’s plenty of bloodletting and death, as Maurin proves herself once again someone not to be taken lightly.
The fourth book in the series, ‘Blood Bath’, is already available and I hope to read it soon.