Friday, 1 November 2013

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston

About the book
The Winter Witch is the first book in the Shadow Chronicles by Paula Brackston. The book was published by Corsair on 19th September and it is 416 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Plot Synopsis
Morgana has not spoken a word since she was a child and there is no one else like her at all in the small Welsh town where she lives with her mother. If not talking wasn’t a big enough problem, Morgana also has the gift of magic – something that she struggles to control. For her own safety, Morgana’s mother marries her off to Cai Jenkins, a widower who knows nothing about Morgana or her secrets. As she starts her new life, falling in love with the mountainous landscape, she begins to win the heart of her husband. But, as Morgana’s life seems to be getting somewhere close to normal, the dark power inside her grows and she must fight to save everything she loves – or lose it all.

What I thought
Witches are one of my favourite subjects in books because there are so many different variations of how they are written so I was really looking forward to The Winter Witch.

To start with, The Winter Witch is told from a very strange point of view. Part of the story is told in the first person through Morgana but then also in the third person at times, which is mostly when the story surrounds Cai. I have to be honest and say I absolutely hated this. I found it very confusing for the narrative to change so often and I just couldn’t get on with this way of the story being told. I would have much preferred for either one or the other to have been picked and for the author to have stuck with that throughout.

I really enjoyed the beginning of The Winter Witch. Morgana is a woman with many secrets and she has a great air of mystery surrounding her. She hasn’t spoken a word since she was a child and no one really understands why. She hides away when things bother her and she’s only really got a friend in her mother. But, that all changes when her mother attempts to hide Morgana’s secrets by marrying her off to a stranger called Cai, believing that it is in her best interests. What really intrigued me was what Morgana could have possibly done to make her mother want to send her away.

So not only did I get to learn of Morgana to start with, but also of what the book may bring. As soon as she is married to Cai, Morgana must start a new life in a strange place with a strange man. They know nothing about each other and it’s not as though they can even have a normal conversation. I really enjoyed watching Morgana and Cai’s thoughts about each other change over time but I do wish there had been more in-depth interaction between the two. It appeared that although they didn’t really spend much quality time together, their feelings for each other still deepened. I wanted more between the married couple and to see more of them together.

Unfortunately, after the beginning, I began to lose interest very quickly. The Winter Witch is quite drawn out and there wasn’t a lot to keep my interest. Morgana’s getting to know herself and her magic was a long time coming and by that point, I felt very disconnected from both her and Cai. I do think this was partly due to the plot not giving them enough time together though and this could have been something easily rectified. Obviously, being a story about a witch, I was expecting more magic from the beginning and this wasn’t something I got either. The magic aspect of the book was extremely slow and I wanted to know more instead of being kept guessing for so long.

The Winter Witch had a great load of potential but it just didn’t live up to expectations for me. I got quite bored after the first third or so and found myself not caring at all about what would happen in either the plot, or to the characters. 

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