czwartek, 21 czerwca 2018

Witchbane - Morgan Brice (ENG)

Title: Witchbane
Author: Morgan Brice
Series: Witchbane
Volume: 1/?
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Pages: 244
Read in: English
Review copy format: epub


Ending his military service and coming back home, Seth Tanner expected to start his life all over again but, without a doubt, not like that. Innocent chase after an urban legend on the night of Halloween ended up tragically and completely shook Seth’s world. His younger brother was brutally murdered by forces, the existence of which until now seemed to be pure fiction. Because the things that Seth experienced for ordinary people were nothing more than a proof of his insanity, the former soldier decided to take justice into his own hands.
Now, two years after those events, Seth is a lone hunter whose goal is to get the immortal disciples of the witch hanged in 1900, Rhyfel Gremory. He was the one who years ago initiated a long series of ritual murders which Jesse Tanner fell victim to. Following the leads, Seth goes to Richmond where he needs to play a bodyguard, save life of a soon-to-be victim of one of the witch-disciples and get rid of the said witch-disciple. The problem is that Seth has no idea how the guy he’s supposed to protect looks like and in his way to complete dedication to his task stands Sonny – an attractive bartender tempting in every way possible.

Morgan Brice’s – the pen name of Gail Z. Martin – talent for creating interesting and likable characters is something we can’t deny, which is why I’m extremely happy that it worked so well also in case of the main characters of "Witchbane". It's not a secret that one of the most important elements of every novel are the characters who become our friends, family or enemies for the time of reading. They are able to make our time spent reading pleasant or turn it into a real nightmare, so it’s impossible not to include them in this review. The more so because Seth and Sonny quickly conquer the hearts of readers, not only as a perfectly matched couple but also as individual units with clearly defined characters, meshing like gears flaws and virtues, established expectations concerning life and people and also with past affecting their present. So we can clearly see that while writing "Witchbane" the author gave these young men her heart and did her best to create them from A to Z. Equally important to me is the fact that Seth and Sonny are 100% real men, not only in terms of their character but also in appearance – tall, well-built. I admit that I pay special attention to it because as a person interested in Japanese comics – manga – I’m surrounded by titles filled with stereotypical homosexual protagonists – bottoms who often have many feminine features plus delicate physique and tops who are way more masculine. At some point one really has enough, so I love Seth and Sonny even more because they are who they are.

As for the world presented, it’s not badly built, although I wouldn’t mind if the author had developed it even more in paranormal terms. In the end we know that Seth has fought with more than one supernatural creature and it would be nice to learn a little bit more about it. However, there may still be time for this if the next volumes of the series appear. Luckily we didn’t need to wait for the great advantage of the novel – magic. In the world she created Morgan Brice has made magical abilities available even to an ordinary man. Magic is compared to the mundane talents, like for example playing an instrument. A talented man can give a show of his skills without any effort while for every average person it would require an incredible amount of work. The important thing is that it would be possible, although the intensity of that show of skills wouldn’t be as great as if given by a genius. And so, to my true delight, it’s how magic works in the novel. What I really missed in "Witchbane" were the explanations of some methods of dealing with ghosts. I’m talking about the use of salt and iron, as during the reading I really felt the author's sentiment to the tv show "Supernatural" where similar fights happen all the time. I think that those few words of explanation in this topic could make the methods to keep ghosts in line belonging more to this book series and less to the tv show.

While reviewing the "Witchbane" it’s impossible not to write few words on the subject of bed scenes. There’s quite a lot of them in the novel however they don’t dominate completely over the plot. Admittedly, there are moments when the heart of the action is the sexual tension and giving in to pleasures, however, looking at the novel as a whole, sex scenes are rather a broader dessert that goes well with the main course of the actual content and not the essence of the book. What's more, not every foreplay ends with getting to the last base that really speaks in favor of "Witchbane". Do you remember shows like "Sailor Moon" or "Power Rangers" in which during the fight time seemed to stop so that the characters could transform? Now imagine a situation where time stand still so that the characters can make love. Yes, that would be terrible. And fortunately Morgan Brice saves us from such situations. As for the sex itself, it’s characterized by fluidity, perceptible tension and great chemistry between the characters which makes the erotic scenes hot enough to ignite not only Seth and Sonny but also the reader. What to say, you read those scenes with real pleasure.

Since I mentioned the plot, I think it's worth to develop this topic a bit. Primarily, "Witchbane" is a novel that does not completely revolve around a homosexual relationship but it just appears in this story and occupies a significant place. I would say that this book should be consider as urban fantasy first and only then as erotic romance. The main part of the storyline is a hunt for the witch-disciples and at the same time seeking for a revenge and an attempt to save life – someone’s in the case of Seth and his own in the case of Sonny. Simultaneously, the main characters are struggling with their demons that follow them like an inseparable shadow. Romance occupies in this book the third place and in many ways depends on the first two elements of the plot. Thanks to all of this, the novel gains a lot and not only makes the readers excited about romantic elements but also arouses their interest in the story.

To sum up, "Witchbane" is a pretty good urban fantasy novel that in my private ranking of this kind of books is placed on a really good position. Action, feelings, sex, a little bit of magic, a lot of ghosts and, best of all, characters the readers fall in love with quickly and who encourage them to meet again in the next book. In short, I think it’s the novel worth recommending.

Review in Polish: Witchbane - Morgan Brice (PL)

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