This was read in preparation for our last show which was all about book series’ (if you missed it you can listen to it anywhere you listen to podcasts or through the below link) however this novel is also perfect for the Halloween season.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.
Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.
I went into this book pretty blind. Having seen it promoted and raved about all over Bookstagram I decided to get it from Waterstones one day as part of a buy 1 get 1 half price. What I didn’t realise is just how good it would be!
The story starts with Louise, a witch who rarely uses magic, who lives in the loft of a theatre as she doesn’t have any money. As a reader, my first thought was that this character would be your generic, run of the mill, outspoken, tough, selfish girl who didn’t have too much else going for her…but boy was I wrong. As the story progressed, we see her develop into the well-rounded, mature character who ends up not only thinking of herself but others as well.
Then we have Reid Diggory, a chasseur (witch hunter) who respects his work so much and takes his vows, to protect the world from witches, very seriously. So, when he is forced to marry the one thing he is trained to kill, he must rein in his beliefs and learn to live with the enemy.
This was a brilliant fantasy novel full of so many twists and turns, many of them unexpected. There are a great variety of characters from the easy to dislike archbishop to the sweet, young soldier, Ansel who just wants to perform his duties. However, this is made more difficult by our main protagonist who has other plans.
I loved the setting and the era which was 1950s. The way the author wrote about the scenes and landscape brought each chapter to life in vivid colour and placed you right in the middle of the action. It is a book which is easy to get lost in for hours at a time as you watch Louise live in the world with Reid and try to rebel against his wishes at every turn.
I also felt that this book had a strong, underlying lesson which was the idea of acceptance and ideologies. The fact that when you grow up strongly believing in something (I.e., witches are all evil and should die) it can be sometimes challenged, forcing you to reconsider your original vows, no matter how strong they were. It also shows the arrogance, and obstinance of others, people such as Jean Luc, a Chasseur who believes so strongly that witches are the devil that nothing will change his mind. Even if those he wants loved and respected change their views.
As the story progresses, we see Reid warming to Louise, bit by bit, and visa versa. She accepts that she is a witch, but it will take a lot of effort to hide this secret from Reid for long.
Overall, this was a fantastic start to what is sure to be an epic series, and I can’t wait to read the next one, Blood and Money.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – a wonderful fantasy novel filled with tension, twists and turns at every chapter. Will keep you on the edge of your seat and dying to read what happens next.