Book Review: Here Be Witches (Sarah Mussi)
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Publisher: Shrine Bell
Release Date: March 1st 2017
All Ellie Morgan wants is to be with her one true love, Henry. But she’s caught in the middle of a BATTLE as old as SNOWDON itself. A battle between GOOD and EVIL. A WITCHES’ SPELL, cast high on the mountain, has sped up time and made matters MUCH WORSE. The dragons are awake; mythical creatures and evil ghosts have risen. And nearly all of them want Ellie DEAD. Thank heavens for loyal friend George, disloyal bestie Rhi, and mysterious stranger, Davey. Armed with Granny Jones’s potions, Ellie and her companions must set out on a journey to REVERSE THE SPELL, stop the EVIL White Dragon and find Henry. As an eternal winter tightens its grip on Snowdon, Ellie and her friends have just THREE DAYS to SURVIVE and complete their quest.
When I was contacted about reviewing this book, the main reason I wanted to was because of the setting. I went to university in Bangor in North Wales and lived there for five years. There’s something weirdly exciting about reading a book set where you’ve lived. I got a little thrill when she mentioned Bangor, could really picture the scary beauty of Snowdon and even picked out the odd Welsh word I knew (my Welsh is terrible). Bonus points also as my best friend, who still lives there, is called Eli.
That’s a pretty personal reason for liking a book, so I’ll move on…
This is the second book in the Snowdonia Chronicles series. I haven’t read the first book but managed to pick up enough from this one to figure out what had been going on in it. I don’t think it really affected my reading and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything.
Ellie is a fun narrator. She’s funny and sarcastic and I loved how she’d sometimes write what she meant, then cross it out to put something nicer. The narration style was very chatty and that made her feel relatable, like you were reading something from a friend. I also loved George’s Gran, who was a bit eccentric but also right about all the weird things she said and gave them good advice with her sound knowledge of Wales and folklore.
I wasn’t as keen on George and Rhi. George’s love for Ellie just seemed odd to me. It felt weird for him to keep going on about him fancying Ellie to her face all the time: it would make me feel awkward if I were her and I just didn’t like the relationship. Rhi was another thing altogether. She does some pretty bad stuff (no spoilers) and while Ellie is mad at her for it, she forgives her far more easily than I would have. Rhi also goes on about loving George all the time to and I found that weird.
The folklore in the book was really interesting and has made me want to read up on some of it more. I loved that it referred to The Mabinogion a lot and used a lot of Welsh words and phrases. A lot of things were explained with footnotes, which was handy, although they were often explained between the characters in the book too, which felt a bit like overkill.
I didn’t always feel the danger of the book: while they kept saying the stakes were high, I don’t think I always felt it. I found some of the characters a bit too annoying and unrealistic, but others, like Ellie, felt spot on.If you like fantasy and folklore then this is a great book for you. There are some things you’ll probably find familiar but a lot might be new to you, as it was for me, and I know I want to look into some of these things more.