Come along now peeps. Follow me into a world rife with magic, shifters, jinn, dragons, two asskicking women and one not-so-humany-human. Tie down the flails and guns and don't go near the satyrs, they be a-flouncing.
If you didn't understand a thing I mentioned at the top, don't worry, once you've read this tale of awesomeness, you will. And then some. It's hard for me to find fantasy novel's I like, not because I don't like them. I do. Love them, in fact. But you see, more often than not, they drag and some take themselves waaay too seriously. What comes to mind is: Epic, quests, chosen ones, prophecies, old guys who are mentors and die at some point, sword-fights, battles and impossible odds. This book has some of those thrown in the mix, but I have found it an original, edge-of-my-seat, read-well-past-bedtime story. It doesn't drag and I laughed, hurt, shook my tiny fist and rolled my eyes. In simple words: I was immersed, gobbled up, gloriously glued to the pages. Cause that's what I thought this book was; glorious.
Now, let's get into it.
What it's about:
Blurb taken from Amazon
The Witch’s Reign…a land of unnatural hellish cold ruled over by the Ice Witch herself, who is in turn guarded by three creatures—Wolf, Bear, and Raven. Those lovely beasts derive their power directly from their mistress and just happen to kill any who cross their paths. To get THERE, you first must pass through the Dragon’s Ground. Full of, you guessed it, dragons who for the record, also do not like trespassers.
Sounds like a fun place to go, doesn’t it?
Yeah, not so much.
You see the thing is my best friend, Darcy was sent with a team into the Witch’s Reign to recover a powerful jewel that belongs to our mentor, and they are long overdue to come back.
That leaves me, Zamira “Reckless” Wilson to go after my friend because no one else will.
Somehow, I get saddled with a human—a male no less!—tagging along for the ride. A human that is as weak and useless as my shifting abilities.
Throw in a weapon that might be trying to kill me, and a small dragon that has a penchant for Shakespearean insults, and you’ve got my life in a nutshell.
May the sands of the desert swallow me whole because this is going to be a friggin bumpy ride.
What I think about it:
First off, there aren't many nice people in this story. The more I got to know Zam and her Pride, the less I liked the ones surrounding her.
Starting with that cheating, self-serving, camel-turd of an ex-husband of hers. A big brother who doesn't have her back and a mentor who does not see Zam's worth. Oh yes, not to mention the best friend, who slept with said turd of an ex-husband while Zam and him were still married... Queue the snarls, grumbles and frowns. Thing is, I understood where Zam came from. She has been told her whole life she wasn't enough. Too small, too little power, too reckless, too out there. What I loved about her from the start was her fire, the wish to not give into those stronger than her. Her will to fight. And her love for swearing and underdogs, of course.
What's right with it:
Obviously, a lot. The pacing is excellent, the world is vibrant and alive and the characters, including Zam, are realistically flawed. The fight scenes are, yes, epic! There is marvelous foreshadowing and I loved the way questions were answered in their own time. The plot was excellent and threw every possible stone there was right into Zam's way. The book itself was edited well and allowed me to simply read for pleasure. It sucked me in. Completely. And the cover... Can we take a moment to gush over it??? It's the very reason I bought this book.
That and the one-star reviews it has. (Don't judge, the reviewer had me at: 'Bad language from first to last'. Always eager to learn new ways of insulting people I dove right in. And got more than I bargained for. *frowns* There might be something wrong with me.)
Basically, I wanted to read the book in one sitting but had to give up on that endeavor, as I had to get to work the next morning (it's not like I sat in bed at 4 AM still reading, really, it's not...).
It was a real pleasure riding alongside Zam and her horse Balder, learning about the world inside the wall, the supes, the lives they lived and their history. I enjoyed Maks (the not-so-humany-human) as a refreshing male character, who is actually a good guy. *gasp* We don't have those around very often these days, have we? I awed and giggled at Lila, the dragon, and wanted to be her friend as well. And the cussing! The insults! Inspirational! I learned a lot from Zam regarding that.
It's safe to say that I loved the journey and it had me wanting for more. I pre-ordered, pre-ordered, book two and three off the beat. I don't do pre-orders. (Except for Jenni's books, but she's in a league of her own. Always will be for me.)
I can't gush anymore without spoiling, so we'll move on now.
What's wrong with it:
In my opinion, not all that much. There were moments I wanted to slap Zam silly, for being so damned forgiving. For always letting people get away with the worst shit possible. For coming to the rescue of idiots, who then turned around and stabbed her in the back. This happens a lot. The thing is though, as much as it galled me, it made sense. That is just who she is. Loyal to a fault, even in the face of betrayal. Courageous, crazy and reckless. Even in face of the slimmest odds. It unnerved me and I might have rolled my eyes at her from time to time but her acting the way she did made absolute sense. So, people seeing that as a flaw in the book don't get that although it might be something they didn't like, it doesn't make the book itself bad. Actually, quite the opposite. *shrugs* I guess it's a preference thing. Some people like larger than life, perfect people. I like em a tad more realistic. With flaws.
I would have liked for there to be a bit more time spent with the romance... But that is, again, a personal thing. I like time spent on the romance and the bedroom art. (Don't judge, lurve is my thing, okay?)
I will say this: At times the plot felt a bit rushed, just a tad. (Could be that I just wanted to enjoy it longer though)
Who it's for:
If you like strong female characters, a love interest who is actually nice, foul language, impossible odds, fantasy, forbidden love, rich worlds, and suffering (cause the author let's her characters suffer, make no mistake) then this is for you.
It's a whirlwind of a ride *fixes hair* and I, personally, came away richer (as in finding a story I love). Witch's Reign will keep you up at night and on your toes, read it if you dare.
(No, please do. Read it. Now!)
Get it HERE
Find out more about the author Shannon Mayer on her