Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Witch Awakening by Karen Nilsen

My rating: 3.75/5

From Amazon: 
"Safire of Long Marsh ... struggles to keep the curse of her psychic abilities secret, lest she be burned at the stake as a witch in her native land Cormalen. Forced to keep her talents hidden instead of learning how to use them, Safire is ill-prepared to face the evil that awaits her. When she meets the rebellious Merius of Landers, a nobleman determined to escape his overbearing father's influence, she finally finds someone who accepts her. But their romance interferes with court plots and family duty and ultimately leads Safire to confront the dark secrets of the House of Landers alone. What she finds there proves to be a test of her unusual gifts, a test that could free the soul of a haunted man--or end in her death." 

The short review: If something like the movie Everafter combined with ghosts and magic sounds like your cup of tea, then I would definitely recommend Witch Awakening to you.  (Note: This is not, however, a clone of Everafter; just similar in setting and in parts of the story.)

The long review:  Karen Nilsen has a real talent for description, and for building a complete, believable world. Many times I came to the end of a chapter and had to keep reading to see what came next.  I wouldn't say that the story is entirely action-packed, but Nilsen clearly knows her created world very well and describes it flowingly and with ease; and that is what kept me reading.

I don't really understand the reviews that describe this as soft-core porn.  It gets a little descriptive in a couple of scenes, but they're certainly not the majority of the story.  My complaint, though, is in the characterization of the main character, Safire.  In the beginning, she's independent, strong, and sarcastic, and I liked her. But then she spends probably the last half of the book crying and vulnerable, and I found myself angry with Safire, wondering what had happened.  I hope this isn't the case, but it seemed like after Safire had her man, she became a stereotypically weak woman.  It bothered me, and is why I couldn't quite rate the book a 4.

That being said though, I would like to read the next book. The author did an excellent job of ending the book but leaving enough suspense to keep the reader wanting more. I especially want to see where Safire goes with her witchiness and what all she's capable of.

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