Publication date: 11 December 2019
Series: Season of the Witch, Book 1
Warnings: Mild violence
I’m struggling a little with how to describe how I felt about The Winter Witch. I was both enthralled and annoyed by it, in somewhat equal parts.
The novella began with a ritual – The Festival of Lights – taking place amongst the villagers of Willowdale. The mood was somber, as the ceremony was taking place to mark the eve of Adana leaving on a dangerous quest.
The story centres around the village of Willowdale. For more than a thousand years they have been terrorised by an evil prince, who once each year demands a human sacrifice. And this year, Adara is the chosen one.
One thing I really enjoyed about this story were the emotive descriptions. All through, the story maintained a constant mood of intensity, which I felt heightened my anticipation of what would come next. And as we saw the whole story through Adara’s eyes, coloured by her internal struggles, many times I felt as if the scenes were being brought more to life by her sometimes picturesque way of seeing things.
But on the other hand, this was also part of what I found to be annoying. As we were seeing it all happen through her eyes, at times I wanted her to consider things a little more deeply. However, as this is a novella, perhaps more depth would have been inappropriate.
I also never really managed to become particularly empathetic to the male lead, Alaric. While I didn’t get to the point of actually disliking him, I felt removed from his issues and rather apathetic about him. He just never really grabbed me, apart from somewhat superficially.
We follow Adara as she starts out with the task of defeating the evil prince, but we are drawn along as she is exposed to an unexpectedly compassionate side to the him. She must decide whether to follow the path that she was raised to believe was the only way, or to trust her heart and give the prince a chance to prove her wrong.
The story is written in the style of a fable/fairytale, & it works really well. Overall, I enjoyed this story. And I think the short length of the story is perfect for it.