Witchbane: Dark Rivers – Morgan Brice
One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory, but his witch-disciples escaped, and their magic made them nearly immortal. To keep their power, each year one of the witch-disciples kills a descendant of one of the men in the posse, a twelve-year cycle that has cost dozens of lives, including that of Seth Tanner’s brother, Jesse.
Seth Tanner uncovers the cycle of ritual killings that feeds the power of the witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on getting vengeance for Jesse and stopping the murders. His fledgling romantic relationship with Evan Malone complicates his mission, but Seth can’t walk away. Seth and Evan are learning to navigate their partnership—as lovers and monster hunters—while they chase down the next witch-disciple and avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention.
When the hunt takes Seth and Evan to Pittsburgh on the trail of the next killer, they’ll have to save the intended victim and take down the powerful witch. If the skills they possess and the bond between them isn’t enough, the evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die…
Note: Includes mention of past domestic violence and stalking.
While Witchbane, book one, left me unimpressed, Dark Rivers, the second book went a long way into convincing me about this series. Enough to earn an extra star.
One of the best things about it was that Evan definitely improved a lot. He is now far from the TSTL character I tagged him in the first book. Now he can do magic spells using sigils and martial arts. He and Seth still has to deal with PTSD but he was able to keep his cool during his abduction. And saved himself. Attaboy!
I also complained previously about the first book trying too hard to be steamy. Here, the horny thoughts and sex scenes were less distracting and mesh more naturally into the story. The developments between Seth and Evan was more believable and I’m now sold on their romance.
The POV switched between Evan and Seth which generally worked throughout the story, although I would have wanted Evan’s POV when he was fighting with Mike, the psycho ex, instead of having it relayed through Seth’s eyes.
The writing is still straightforward and no frills but the suspense is tighter and the story is more action packed. A big plus is the introduction of the other monster hunter team, ex-priest Travis and former special ops Brent, characters from the author’s other series, Night Vigil. I know Seth and Evan could hold their own in a fight but it’s comforting to know there are other people who can watch their backs.
Overall, this is a good sequel to Witchbane and though still far from perfect, is definitely much better written. The author was able to address some issues from the first book and also gave our heroes time to grow and catch a break. And most importantly, Dark Rivers succeeded in changing my mind about this series. I’m definitely into this now so good job, Morgan Brice!
I received a copy of Dark Rivers from Darkwind Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
Witchbane – Morgan Brice
Seth Tanner and his brother Jesse’s fun evening debunking local urban legends ends with Jesse’s gruesome murder. Seth vows revenge on Jesse’s killer – too bad the murderer has been dead for a hundred years. Seth uncovers a cycle of ritual killings that feed the power of a dark warlock’s immortal witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on stopping Jackson Malone from becoming the next victim. He’s used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.
I had high hopes for this. Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be.
Witchbane would have been more effective if it spent more time establishing the occult elements instead of trying too hard to be steamy. It was annoying how Seth and Evan’s almost every other thought drifted to boning each other instead of putting more effort at finding that witch which kills the momentum of whatever chilling suspense Morgan Brice was setting up. I also found the writing repetitive at some points.
I wasn’t convinced Seth and Evan should be using the L-word already given that they hardly trust each other and have known each other barely a week. Also, Evan was TSTL which is ironic for somebody who ran away from home and should have honed his stranger danger radar already. I was amazed at how easily he trusted a stranger simply because that person was a cop. ‘Round these parts, we never trust cops. I know it’s a cultural difference thing but still, after what he had seen, why is he still doubting Seth?
I liked Seth and I could see he was really trying hard to do his job. He has no compunction about lying or hacking or breaking the law which at first glance makes him suspect but monsters don’t follow human laws and the necessities of monster hunting calls for creativity and an open mind. I want to see Seth becoming a sort of MacGyver because heck, I haven’t seen a MacGyver type of character in MM so far.
This is another series where the world is more interesting than the execution of the plot. The Witchbane world is interconnected with the Badlands worlds and I really liked Badlands. I’m hoping for cameos in both series although, TBH, I would probably stick with Badlands at this point.
review of Badlands here
I received a copy of Witchbane from Dark Wind Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like