The Morrigna by Rachel Rawlings. Book review

MorrignaTHE MORRIGNA by Rachel Rawlings,

Createspace, p/b, £9.94/Kindle £1.96, LINK

Reviewed by David Brzeski

I’ve had this one for ages. I started it once, but at that time it was chock full of typos and in need of a serious re-edit. So, I passed it back to the author. To her credit, she took note, had the book completely re-edited, as I suggested, and sent me a new copy—which then languished in my to-be-reviewed list for almost another year, until I found the time to make a real effort to clear some of my backlog.

I’m pleased to say that it’s now in a much better state than it was the first time I looked at it. Not only that, but it was a very enjoyable read.

The book concerns Maurin Kincaide, a psychometric investigator for the SPTF (Salem’s Preternatural Task Force). Obviously, this is a paranormal series. The paranormal genre has become very popular over the last decade, and it would be easy to dismiss Rachel Rawling’s work as just another bandwagon jumper.

It’s actually quite a page-turner of an adventure, as we, along with Maurin, discover her destiny. Maurin lives in a world where witches, vampires, werewolves and demons are all only too real. She’s an outsider. Not really one of the “supes”, but her psychic abilities make her stand out like a sore thumb among the “norms” too. Her world seems to be informed by various TV shows, such as ‘Charmed’ and ‘True Blood’, with familiar terminology, but it’s not a slavish copy of anything. Ms. Rawlings has put considerable effort into giving us a Celtic, Pagan menace so nasty, that it allows her to put the vampires, who in this book are generally not at all nice, on the side of good. In case anyone is wondering if the title is one of the typos that I mentioned, “The Morrigna” actually refers to the triad of the Morrigan and her two sisters.

It’s by no means perfect. Their are clarity issues. The story involves a betrayal that almost seemed tacked on at the last minute. There are few clues to it, until just before the reveal, as none of the other characters ever suspect anything of the sort. The actions of the traitors early on in the book seem slightly illogical. The cavalry is summoned, to pull the heroes’ fat out of the fire, at the last minute, but no real clue is given as to why this wasn’t done a bit sooner, and why, if no traitor was suspected, was it kept secret from Maurin and the others?

Those are niggles—things that didn’t quite work for me in the internal logic of the plot—but the important thing is whether, or not, it left me wanting more. The answer to that is yes—I really do want to read the further adventures of Maurin Kincaide. There are minor characters in the book, whose final fate we never discover. Some of those, like the punk vampire girl, I’d like to see more of, assuming they did survive the battle. Some of the other characters are left with unresolved issues, and much of the background of Maurin’s world is still to be clearly delineated, which leaves plenty of potential for more stories to come.

Hopefully, Rachel Rawlings has ironed out the weak points in her plotting and the two, already published follow-ups are even better.