by Karen McCullough

November 2002
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As it turned out, I enjoyed this Witch’s Journey! At first, the language of one of the characters, Flame, made it difficult for me to decipher, and I almost didn’t give the manuscript a chance. But I was interested enough in the young witch, Jin, who, from the first page, showed a heroic, unselfish tendency that I always enjoy in a female character.

The plot was a simple one; after saving a child with witchcraft, the witch is discovered and the fearful people want to destroy her rather than thank her. Instead, the king sends a loyal subject to bring the girl to him. That noble is Stephen, a dark, dangerous, foreboding character with an unknown hatred for her ancestry that goes beyond witchcraft. He was the perfect character to play off Jin’s soft femininity; harsh but not cruel, he’s a character that holds duty and honor above his very life. She’s the lonely secretive heroine, and he, the honor bound, equally secretive hero.

From the beginning, she does not fight the idea of being his prisoner on the journey, although she’s had her powers taken from her and he holds the key to their control. The author does a great job of revealing their personalities as the journey becomes more and more difficult, aptly unveiling admirable qualities of Stephen as he starts to see Jin as a person, while loathing the side of her that is the witch, especially when they pass the witches' shrines. There are interesting and believable conflicts, not only from the worsening weather and road conditions that force them to work as a team to survive, to those of a man and woman discovering an unwanted passion. The author’s choice of a medieval setting adds to the mystery. As they faced one problem after another, the witch was not allowed to use her powers, but they were hinted at enough and were satisfying when finally revealed in more than one scene. The author used clever and innovative ideas that I really liked. Without giving them away, they were extremely creative and described in such detail that it was no problem to imagine them.

It appears actions spoke louder than words, and I would have appreciated more dialogue since the author does a great job of it. Besides the chemistry of opposites attracting, their desire for one another seemed preordained, and I got the feeling while reading the story that I started the middle book in a trilogy. There must have been a great story about both of their pasts, especially how the character, Flame and Jin spent some marvelous prior journeys, as well as a great parallel tale of Stephen, the hero who became trusted by a king. When the journey ended, it felt like when a fairy tale ends just as it was getting good. I would love to see the author continue this tale, especially with another eventful witch’s journey!

I would welcome more stories like this from the author. She writes in such a way that my curiosity was effectively peaked; I found after the initial hesitatation about the language, I could not put the story down. I would encourage all who like this type of genre to take some time to travel this Witch’s Journey for several enjoyable hours of reading.

Reviewed in February 2003 by Suemarie.

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