Completed 12/5/2015, Reviewed 1/4/2015
This is the third entry in the Witch World series. It follows a quest by the triplet offspring of the Simon Tregarth and Jaelithe from the first two books. When Simon disappears, Jaelithe goes in search of him, leaving the three children on their own. When the witch society take their daughter Kaththea against the whole family’s wishes, it’s up to her brothers Kyllan and Kemoc to rescue her. Doing so however means they would incite the wrath of the witches and be traitors to their people. So they flee to the east, a direction that’s been wiped from everyone’s mind. It’s a good story, but suffers from one thing. It’s half a book.
I wasn’t expecting that. It becomes quite evident that as you get closer to the end, there can’t possibly be an ending. It is completely a setup for the fourth book. While in and of itself, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, I think I was expecting the book to be more self-contained, as the first two entries in the series were.
Aside from that problem, the book is good. The world building of Witch World is truly masterful. It had been almost a year since I read the last book and I was right back in the center of it. Fortunately, Norton knows how to give you all the info you need to get back into the story without making it tedious.
With there being only a minimal plot, the star of the book is the characterization. Kyllan is the narrator and a warrior. Kemoc is a warlock and Kaththea is a witch. While individuals, they carry the psychic power of being triplets, able to accomplish things that they can’t always carry alone. If there’s any fault in the characterization, it’s that Kemoc isn’t as memorable. With Kyllan as the narrator and Kaththea as the focus of the witches, Kemoc gets a little lost between the two stronger characters. Just like a middle child.
I also liked the device of no one having any sense that anything lies to the east. It’s sort of a cosmic un-consciousness or communal forgetfulness, a blank space in society’s mind. Even the Tregarth children must fight to keep aware of it themselves. I thought this was much more mysterious than just saying no one knows what lies east. No one even knows that there is an east.
I wish this review could be a little longer, but like the book itself, there isn’t much going on. It’s basically half an adventure. I’m hoping I have more to write after reading the fourth book where I think this will all conclude. I have to give this three out of five stars because there isn’t enough plot or action, but is still a solid beginning of a story.