Book Review: Wild Fire (Anna McKerrow)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 530

Release Date: November 14th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

The last book in the Greenworld trilogy follows Sadie, Roach’s daughter and Danny’s former girlfriend, as she finds a new identity as the third branded witch along with Danny and Melz. Sadie, a natural healer, is training to be a witch in Tintagel, Cornwall, as well as trying to deal with her own difficult past. Plus, she’s fallen in love with Melz, but Demelza Hawthorne is a tortured soul. Can Sadie’s love bring Melz back into the light, or will she be lost altogether?

Meanwhile, a global network of resistance is forming against the corrupt, dystopian Redworld governments. Sadie travels by accident through the portal to Mount Shasta, home to a Native American tribe, who indicate that they too are holding out against the Redworld. The war for fuel is over, and new solutions have to be found fast. But in Tintagel, Lowenna Hawthorne, Head Witch of the Greenworld, is in denial about the need for change.

In the final dramatic climax to the trilogy, the Greenworld witches have to do something more difficult than they ever have, but saving the world means refusing to be separate anymore. Can they join with others, despite their differences, and usher in a brave new world? Or will the Greenworld disappear altogether?

Review:

I remember finishing Red Witch and being so excited for the next book, and theorising who would be telling the final part of the story. I can now confirm that – hey, I was right, it’s Sadie’s turn!

Sadie is the third branded witch, along with Danny and Melz and this new generation has plenty to deal with. As well as dealing with the fallout of the actions of their parents, the Greenworld is filling with refugees from the Redworld. The war is over there but the troubles are far from solved. To add to all that, Sadie has to deal with massive crush she’s developed on Melz.

I loved seeing Sadie’s story. I don’t think we’ve seen much of her yet, and it was great to get to know a new witch, especially one who wasn’t as born into it as Danny and Melz were. She has a lot of bottled up emotions from her past – the actions of her abusive father, Roach, the terrible act her mother committed in the previous book – and it’s interesting to see how she deals with them as the book progresses.

The situation with the Greenworld and Redworld is fascinating. While at first glance the Greenworld might seem like a protected utopia, it soon becomes clear that separation is not sustainable and another solution will need to be found. Not everyone is open to change though, and Sadie and Melz have to make some tough decisions in the interest of the Greenworld.

I still have a soft spot for Melz and it was great to see a resolution of her story. Hers has definitely been the most complex and emotional across the three books and she’s got a special place in my heart now. I loved the relationship that slowly blossomed between her and Sadie and it was great to see her finally let herself be loved and be happy.

This didn’t go the way I expected to and I was happily surprised with the progression of events. The ending is beautifully hopeful and gave me an embarrassingly gooey feeling inside, without being too twee. This is a fantastic trilogy and I’d really recommend picking it up if you haven’t yet.

4

Book Review: Red Witch (Anna McKerrow)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Quercus Children’s Books

Pages: 416

Release Date: March 10th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen, heartbroken, powerful; Melz has run away from home, run away from the safety of the Greenworld. In the cities of the Redworld, Melz discovers she’s special, desired. And not just for her magical talents. When Melz meets the young but influential Bran, their attraction is instant and electric. In the Redworld, with Bran by her side, unrestrained by the customs of her former life, Melz knows she can reach her true potential. But the world Bran wants to give Melz is ravaged by war and violence. Oil is running out, and people will do anything to gain control of the remaining resources. Melz may be more powerful than ever, but even great power can be a curse when used against you.

Review:

It feels weird writing a review for a book that I was waiting for/really excited for a year ago – I’ve only been blogging for a year so it’s nice to see things coming full circle. Hopefully this time next year I’ll be writing a review for the next installment and marvelling at all the time gone by.

Red Witch picks up where Crow Moon left off, only now we’re following Melz instead of Danny. I loved seeing her side of the story: she’s a great narrator and goes through such a big change throughout the book. At the start she is full of raw emotions, still hurting from the end events of Crow Moon and embarking on her biggest journey ever: into the Red World.

After hearing little snippets about it in the last book, it was great to see the Redworld, especially from a Greenworlders perspective. And vice-versa, it’s great to see what the Redworlders think of the Green World. We start to see a little of these two worlds colliding towards the end of this book, and I’m excited to see how this progresses and resolves in the next book. There’s a lot of similarities between the two that they probably don’t even realise: the way both have been lied to about the other world, and the manipulation of the people by those in power.

I loved every time the Morrigan appeared – she’s a real scene stealer and I just wanted more of her all the time. She’s definitely my favourite of the gods and goddesses and I hope we see more of her again. It’s interesting to see Melz’s relationship with her and how she helps her heal and develop throughout the book. Melz goes from a naive, slightly broken girl at the beginning to becoming more confident with herself, in her mind, body and powers, and I loved her even more by the end of the book.

McKerrow has done it again – the world she’s created is vivid and gritty and magical and her characters just leap off the page. Once again, while the main plot is resolved by the end of the book, there is plenty left open to leave us gagging for the sequel (seriously, do we have to wait another year?!) I’m excited to see how things are going to wrap up, and whose story we’re going to follow next time – I have my theories but I won’t say anything just yet (spoilers!). I guess I’ll just have to patient (and maybe re-read both in the meantime!)

4

Book Review: Crow Moon (Anna McKerrow)

Publisher: Quercus

Pages: 384

Release Date: March 5th 2015

Summary (From Goodreads):

Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn’t want to follow in his mum’s witchy footsteps.

Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea…

But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?

Wickedness and passion combine in this coming-of-age adventure.

Review:

This book has been one of the most talked about releases this year and I was so happy when I finally got my hands on it. And then worried. Because when something’s been built up so much, it’s easy to be disappointed.

Happily, this wasn’t the case with Crow Moon.

The scene setting was perfect: there was no overload of information, but there was enough for you to understand the world: split into two, the Redworld, filled with gangs and fighting over the world’s last scraps of fuel, and the Greenworld, an environmentally friendly community split into covensteads and led by witches.

Danny lives in the Greenworld and his mother is head witch of one of the covensteads. He’s a great character and reads like a very realistic teenage boy (or how I imagine a teenage boy to think and feel at least, having never been one myself). I liked the idea that he wasn’t really sold on Greenworld and witchcraft at the beginning. If he’d been more gung-ho about it I think it would have been less convincing, but the fact that he has doubts and knows the Greenworld is flawed made it all the more believable.

The book is diverse and challenges some cultural ideas on witches – Danny is a male witch, in a world heavily dominated by females. While the Greenworld is supposed to be ‘colour-blind’ Danny still feels singled out because of the colour of his skin, which was another indicator of their less than perfect world and mirrors our own imperfect society.

All of the characters were wonderfully imagined and fleshed out, but one of my favourites was Saba. I was a bit wary of her at first, expecting some kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I really enjoyed the flaws in her character and how Danny’s opinion of her hanged throughout the book. Roach is also a great villain because what he’s proposing doesn’t sound like an evil master plan – it actually could make sense, and it’s his way of doing things that really makes him the villain. Melz was another highlight and I really can’t wait to see where her story goes in book two.

While I enjoyed the novel all the way through, it was towards the end when I really started to love it. The unconventional love triangle between Danny-Saba-Tom took a dark turn which I loved and had me yelling at Danny not to do what he was about to. The ending became very sobering at times, but also had some fantastical elements that were really incredible. McKerrow paints beautiful pictures of Devon and Cornwall and her mythology and goddesses are all really well imagined.

As the first book in a series, I think the ending was spot on. While part of the main story line for that book was finished off, giving closure, there’s enough cliffhangers and intrigue to leaving you yearning for the next book. Bring on March 2016 and the sequel!

My Verdict:

4

Top Five… Witches

After reading the fabulous Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow last week, I’ve decided this week’s post should be about fabulous witches. I’m defining witch as someone who calls them self that, so not necessarily a woman (but also not magical people who call themselves wizards etc). 
5

Serafina Pekkala 
His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman)
She says some of the most beautiful things in these books, and has a love story that gets more tragic the more you think about it. I can’t imagine staying young and watching my husband and son’s lives pass by as quick as a dream. And even with all that tragedy, she still manages to be one of my favourite characters in the series.
4

Danny Prentice
Crow Moon (Anna McKerrow)
Probably one of the very few male witches I’ve read about, Danny seems pretty sceptical of his powers and witchcraft in general at first, but he goes on to perform some pretty incredible magic (some of the end scenes are so magical!) and accept himself for the strong witch he is. 
3

Mildred Hubble
The Worst Witch series (Jill Murphy)
So she may not be the best witch in the world, but she’s probably one of the most lovable. One of the original klutzy protagonists with a heart of gold, Mildred’s antics kept me entertained through reading and watching her TV show (and this very old film that no one seems to mention, but has Tim Curry in and is amazing!)
2
Hermione Granger
Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
I don’t think you can really do a list like this without slipping Hermione in there somewhere. She’s insanely smart and is constantly proving herself in a world dominated by male wizards and pure bloods. 
1

The Grand High Witch
The Witches (Roald Dahl)
Oo even now that picture gives me shivers. Maybe she isn’t quite as horrendous in the book as she is in the film, but the Grand High Witch is pretty fearsome and her hatred of children genuinely scared me when I was younger.