Review: The Spirit of A Witch ~ Sarah Jane Avory

Spirit of a witchEver wondered what it would be like to truly understand a cat, every last meow, every narrowed glance, every jab of a paw?

When Briley Forester, a shy recluse and gifted games programmer, is torn from the world and dumped into the village of Maepole, she finds out the hard way. Trapped within a backward world without technology, she discovers that being a witch is hard, and that her grouchy talking cat Smokey knows more about men than she does!

Tricked into working as a delivery girl and aided by an ancient grimoire, only by learning the powers of witchcraft can she hope to return home. Not an easy task for a girl suffering from crippling self-doubt.

But her way home is fraught with heartache and danger, love and despair. The powerful Whitehead family, haters of witches, will stop at nothing to be rid of her.

And lurking within the forest, the dark spirit lies in wait, ready to strike…

2 Thumbs-UpThis is the Authors debut novel, and the first in the Briley Witch Chronicles.  If you are highly religious, or completely against the idea of magic, witches and unusual things happening to ordinary people, you may want to give this one a miss.

I’m going to start in this review by heading straight to the part of this book I didn’t like, and that was the main protagonist.  The fact that I didn’t like her one bit made it a chore rather than a pleasure to keep reading this book to the end.  So much so, it almost received the dubious pleasure of being the first book I have ever left unfinished.  The main character finds themselves whisked from her ordinary everyday life into another world and, while this can be disconcerting and hard to get used to, she complains and moans her whole way through the book.  She is such a negative person, and full of so much low self-esteem, that I felt she needed therapy rather than the chance to discover new and interesting things about herself.  There is one redeeming character in this book, and it is her cat; obviously a magical beast as it provides an excellent balance and provides reality checks for our ‘Minnie the Moaner’.  As this is the first book in this series, I am hoping that Author is going to allow the main protagonist to grow out of and deal with all her insecurities, to develop into a person some readers may like; it is possible that after reading this book some readers may already like her, but she was not for me.

Outside of the dislike I had for the main character, this Author has done an outstanding job in writing this book, it is well written and put together in such a manner that it flows along nicely.  Despite its slow beginning which covers some routes that have been covered before, the Author manages to make the new world she is building seem almost real.  As well as magic, the Author covers certain mysteries in the novels pages that are uncovered and solved as the book progresses; this helps the book become a stronger piece of work and also picks up the pace of the storyline.

I would recommend this book to YA readers and anyone who enjoys a fantasy read that contains a small helping of fairytale.