Satisfying conclusion to a brilliant paranormal YA trilogy
If you haven't read the first two, I'd suggest you stop right here, go to A Witch in Winter (book 1) or A Witch in Love (book 2). I can't guarantee this review will be spoiler-free for the earlier novels.
Again there is a gap between the novels and we join Anna a few weeks after the events of A Witch in Love, allowing her to have settled into a different routine since last we saw her. She remains the strongly principled character I've come to love, and the wicked Ruth Warburton continues to pull her in many directions, testing those principles at every turn. Torn between loyalties to her father, her long-dead mother, her powerful grandmother who represents the forces that tried to kill her in the first book, her witch friends and her love for Seth, Anna is constantly having to weigh up the likely effects of her actions on others.
The supporting cast also remains true to the form we've come to expect. Seth is away, trying to separate himself from Anna and her inability to have faith in his love for her. Abe is difficult but appealing in a bad-boy, rough-around-the-edges kind of way, while Emmaline is her practical, down-to-earth self. Anna's pulled loyalties and quandaries about trust are perfectly replicated in the reading experience and I was unsure whether Anna had put her faith in the right people at several different points (sometimes I was right, and sometimes wrong). This effect is enhanced by the fact that we get everything from Anna's point of view via the first person narration, so others' motives are never clearer to us than to her.
One of the great pleasures of this trilogy has been its ability to surprise me and this last instalment is no different. There were several key twists that I did not see coming, and I really enjoyed that the story got much 'bigger' from the middle of the first book onwards. What started out (or at seemed to) as a paranormal romance with witches, ended up as an epic quest narrative with action happening around the world and a genuine threat to the whole human race.
Overall, I would strongly recommend this novel (and the whole trilogy) to readers of YA, especially those looking for something 'more' in their urban fantasy or paranormal romance. This is a perfect example of a satisfying romance novel, with an admirable heroine and a strong plot beside the romance threads.
The blurb says:Where do you go when your heart has been ripped out?
For Anna there is only one answer: into her past, where the truth about her mother, her power and her real identity lie hidden.
Publishing 7 Feb 2013 by Hodder
Find more information at the author's website
My grateful thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy