Series: Witch Walker, #1, #1
Published by City Owl Press on 2nd November 2021
Buy on Amazon
Every harvest moon, the Witch Collector rides into our valley and leads one of us to the home of the immortal Frost King, to remain forever. Today is that day—Collecting Day. But he will not come for me. I, Raina Bloodgood, have lived in this village for twenty-four years, and for twenty-four years he has passed me by.
Raina Bloodgood has one desire: kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister. On Collecting Day, she means to exact murderous revenge, but a more sinister threat sets fire to her world. Rising from the ashes is the Collector, Alexus Thibault, the man she vowed to slay and the only person who can help save her sister.
Thrust into an age-old story of ice, fire, and ancient gods, Raina must abandon vengeance and aid the Witch Collector in saving the Frost King or let their empire—and her sister—fall into enemy hands. But the lines between good and evil blur, and Raina has more to lose than she imagined. What is she to do when the Witch Collector is no longer the villain who stole her sister, but the hero who’s stealing her heart?
‘The Witch Collector’ has a title that had me intrigued so I picked it up with the intention of reading just a little, then a little more, then went all the way through. Probably the best kind of read, if you ask me, especially since I so rarely delve into high fantasy let alone a series of books given the kind of emotional and time investment that’s needed for it.
This is entirely on me: I’ve also got an under-active imagination when it comes to high fantasy, magic-ky stuff and the map that’s provided, so linking the events of the book, the pesky gods and their power-plays do give me a hard time following everything in the complex world that Weaks has created.
But there’s a huge backstory involved to the point where you think everyone’s just a chess pawn, an even bigger vocabulary associated with the whole world of Tiressia and quite a number of emerging sub-plots such that summarising everything here is missing the entire point. Like the Greek and Roman gods, Tiressia’s own petty deities tangle with each other and their mortals, causing destruction and chaos at their whims and fancies.
The subplots do bog down the story a bit, which would otherwise be a somewhat linear one of immortal-dude-taking-someone-but gets-caught-in-many-skirmishes-along-the-way. The pacing as a result, is a start-stop, fast-slow jerky one but Weaks’s interesting, multi-faceted characters keep it all alive, in spite of and because of their historical baggage (and possibly unrealised power) that aren’t quite fully unravelled or unexplained. Still, there’s a whole new set of magic rules and lores to learn about–these can get exhausting with the info-dumps–but ploughing through it does bring its own set of rewards as more characters expand the cast list.
The enemies-to-lovers trope between Raina and Alexus was the cherry on top, though I’d really hoped for more passion and swoony-angst perhaps. But there’s some building steam, some yearning and denial moments that kept me a happy camper, and as anxious as I am to see how both Raina and Alexus turn out together, knowing that this is just the beginning is giving me that bit of a sinking feeling that it’s not really going to go too well.
It’s early days yet though, and I’m eager to see what Weaks is going to throw in for her next few books.