Hello humans! Longtime followers of Chain Interaction will recall a book review I wrote a long time ago about The Witch’s Kiss. It feels weird to be thinking back to that time when this was just a little book blog I was running, thinking no-one would ever read it. I’m still little but I do have readers and I’m so grateful for that. So I was given the opportunity to read and review the whole The Witch’s Kiss trilogy by Harper Collins through NetGalley and I thought it would be a good way of honoring the fact that in February I passed my Bloggoversary (without even realising it!).
The Witch’s Kiss
Sixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?
If you want to read my review of The Witch’s Kiss click here. I’ll try to keep the following reviews mostly spoiler free, though by nature of being a series there will be some spoilers.
The Witch’s Tears
It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She’s drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry’s not the only one whose fairy tale is over. Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they’d be mad not to take it…
Some rules were made to be broken, right?
Second novels are hard, especially when you’re building on quite a solid ending, by which I mean The Witch’s Kiss has quite a finite ending, this could easily have been a standalone rather than a trilogy. So it takes this book a little while to build momentum, you have to re-establish what ‘normal’ is for Merry and Leo at this point in order to shake things up again.
Leo was always my favourite character (and I think he remains as such) so it was good to see him get a bit more page time (is that the correct term for the bookish equivalent of screen time? I’m not sure…). Anyway, I’m all for queer characters getting more representation in books and while the treatment of Leo is not always perfect I’m pleased that he was there as it elevates the story somewhat.
The plot in this book is slow going, I would almost have preferred it if this had been a duology and had books two and three merged into one. There are a lot of new characters and concepts introduced which I understand takes time, but there’s also a lot of time spent dwelling on the plot of the first novel. I appreciate a lot of this plot was to do with Merry coping with the grief of losing Jack but I ended up feeling quite frustrated with her.
It does start to feel, after a time, that most of the characters in this book’s lives revolve around romantic relationships in one way or another, which, given that this trilogy is called The Witch’s Kiss, is unsurprising. Personally, I end up a little frustrated, especially since the other things that are happening in this book are brutal murders, but I know some people like books that have this focus so if that’s you, then this might be right up your alley.
The Witch’s Blood
Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?
Again, if this book had been the second half of the book before it would have been a lot more effective (in my opinion). This was the action I had been waiting for in book two. And boy is there action? There are battles galore, betrayals, plot, and plans. There is still a hefty dose of romance and angst, but people’s priorities felt a little more in order in the final book than they did previously.
This book does have a few strange elements of writing in it, for instance, they seem to travel into something of a parallel universe, but the mechanics of this were never really explained? I’m not saying I wanted pages of theoretical physics, but it does feel at times like the term ‘magic’ is used to explain away any difficult moments in the plot.
As a conclusion to a trilogy, I would say this book is on par with the previous two titles. They are fun to read and they certainly have a lot of the things I like in YA paranormal fantasy. However, there wasn’t anything that really gripped me about them? I’m sure most readers will enjoy them, but in a market crowded with a lot of similar titles this series didn’t have enough bite that I would recommend it wholeheartedly.
My overall rating: 3/5 stars
I received digital advanced review copies of these books from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Have you read any of this trilogy? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!