Book review: Red Witch by Anna McKerrow

red witch by anna mckerrow

Writing this while I remember it.

This is the sequel to Crow Moon. I will try to avoid spoilers for Red Witch, but there may be some for Crow Moon.

Red Witch is a fantastic read. It does a lot of really exciting, unexpected things. Firstly, it has a different point-of-view character from Crow Moon‘s, which is a bold move considering they are both first person books. Crow Moon was from the point-of-view of Danny Prentice; Red Witch is from the point-of-view of Demelza “Melz” Hawthorne. As a reader, I was instantly given a new perspective on things that I thought I was familiar with; events from Crow Moon are given a new sheen, and a whole layer is added to the worldbuilding. I made a lot of “Ooooh” noises.

On top of this, Melz has left the Greenworld following the murder of the lad she was in love with (who was her sister’s boyfriend, so her grief is a complicated beast)(Her sister is Saba, and I am still a little unhappy with how she is presented? I want more insight into her motives). The Redworld and the fuel wars have been mentioned, but now Melz is stumbling around in the middle of it and it is never quite what we have been led to believe. A lot of the beginning struck close to home for me because I have been the awkward teenager wearing a handknitted jumper trying to figure out how the rest of the world works (Steiner education!)(I still wear handknitted jumpers though) and it was baffling and hard. Then there are the stories that Redworld tells about Greenworld, and that was very interesting indeed.

A lot of the narrative is about Melz grieving, and it was an amazing narrative because Melz is a powerful kickarse witch who is nevertheless in pain. And she’s a bit lost, trying to figure out who to trust out here: Bran Crowley, the enigmatic charmer living in the White Well in Glastonbury? His bodyguard? Ceri, Catie and Demi, who are playing at magic? Herself? But this is a narrative where she is allowed to be in pain and angry and vindictive and powerful without being punished by the narrative. She’s allowed to go on a journey which does not diminish any of her power – her goddess is the Morrigan which really tells you a lot. I loved that Anna McKerrow did this.

I also love that Anna McKerrow does such interesting things with plot and worldbuilding; the story never quite went where I thought it would, insignificant characters from Crow Moon become suddenly important and then I thought back and realised it had been foreshadowed, and similarly small plotpoints were expanded on in really pleasing ways. Goddesses intervene. People make mistakes. There are curses. The land fights back. It’s bloody brilliant.

Rating: read this book. Be wary of the crows…

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