A WITCH’S BREW
Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: April 14th, 2021
Pages: 318 Pages
Intent on defeating the Dark Queen and destroying the Veil, Prince Tal and Alexandria arrive at Markingham to discover a city on the verge of collapse, its people starving, and children vanishing without a trace. Hopes of launching attacks from the city against the Dark Queen evaporate. To make matters worse, the tiny breach in the Veil allows only a trickle of soldiers and supplies to pass through.
Before the city’s defenses can be restored, the Baleful, a vast army composed of melded humans and animals led by a giant centaur, sweeps across the land like locusts, leaving nothing behind.
In the midst of turmoil and conflict, the love between Tal and Alex reaches white-hot intensity. But the leader of a ragtag militia group wants Tal for herself and will do anything to get him…even strike a bargain with a child-killing witch for a potion to make her irresistible.
But every witch’s brew comes with a price.
Clueless Gent’s Rating for A Witch’s Brew
Clifton takes worldbuilding to a new level in this series, and A Witch’s Brew adds another layer rich with fanastical description and imaginary delights. From the foul stench of a witch’s cottage to the pristine sweetness of old magic, this story will give the imagination a satisfying workout.
This installment adds a few new characters to the cast – both good and evil – but our favorites from the last story are back. The relationship between our protagonists, Lady Alexandria (Alex) and Prince Talmund (Tal), continues to grow. In this story, Alex teaches Tal a lesson on compassion as they find a dilapidated town during their search for the evil queen. The hate Tal has experienced his entire life is softened by the empathy of Alex.
Prince Tal and his army put their search for the evil queen on hold and help to restore the town and care for the remaining population. When confronted by a formidable enemy, the army decides to take up their arms to defend it.
There are so many things I love about this series. The author does so many things exceptionally well. I’ll start with dialogue.
Michael Scott Clifton uses clever dialogue and mannerisms to really bring his characters to life. Rather than “telling” the reader the story, Clifton “shows” it to the reader’s imagination. For example, when two characters are having an argument, rather than tell us how the characters are feeling, he demonstrates by their words and actions.
The character arcs remind me of musical wave forms, but not quite as graceful. Since the two protagonists have not even reached twenty-one years of age, their emotions can change quickly. And then they can change again. And again. I think it adds another element of interest to the story.
“If I could take every dream I’ve ever had since I was a little girl, put them all in a bottle, and with a word, fulfill them, they would still pale in comparison with the happiness I have now.”
—Lady Alexandria Duvalier
Another thing Clifton does so very well is use description and worldbuilding hand-in-hand to create a fanciful carnival for any imagination. With his description, I actually have a good sense of what his gnomes and trolls look like. Further, the band of marauders he conjures up in this story seemed to tug at the limits of my imagination – but that’s a good thing.
My favorite part of this story was the battle scene. It was very well written. The pacing had me turning pages at a frantic pace so as not to hamper the action. With the weapons in use, such as swords and two-headed axes, there had to be gore, but it was tastefully done. Further, adding in an element of magic during a grandiose battle scene really punches up the action meter!
Some readers may not like the way this story ends, because it doesn’t really end. Rather, it just seems to put it on pause. If this was the last book in the series, I would be downright outraged. However, with the way the author set everything up, I am eagerly waiting for the next book in the series to be released. This story, in my opinion, is exceptionally well done, but I’m sure the next one will be epic!
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