Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review - Heart of the Witch by Judy Goodwin


Zerrick Dhur holds a dangerous secret. As the Pastor's son, it is his duty to uphold the ways of the church. But he practices magic, feels it singing to him through the jungle outside the colonial town walls. Witch burning fever strikes his town, forcing him to flee or be killed. Worse, his abilities spin out of control, threatening darkness and madness. He meets several other lost souls in his search to tame the wild magic. A young woman with visions. An old native scout. A hidden city of magic users. As he draws nearer to the truth, he fears he will also have to face his greatest nightmare, the Ravenger, a demon of unspeakable power.

In the end, Zerrick must decide whether witchcraft will lead him to goodness . . . or to evil.


A great black shape descended from the sky, seeming to come right out the air itself. At first all Mira could see were wings: four black-feathered wings, each about ten or twelve feet long, all flapping in a blur of movement. Then the head of a horse, also black, reared up out of the tangle of wings, and four cloven black hooves appeared, each hoof chiseled into a razor-sharp point, churning at the air as the creature landed in a cloud of dust.

It reared up, shrieking again, and struck at something--Tibit, Mira’s mind sluggishly registered, trying to fight the terror of the creature’s ghastly voice. She saw the familiar sent flying by a powerful kick to lie unmoving, a little bloody heap.

Beside her, Zerrick whimpered, but he too seemed frozen, all his color suddenly fled from his face. Very soon Mira understood why. The pressure of the magic was all around, making it difficult to breathe, difficult to think. It seemed to whisper fell things, of woe, of destruction. She could feel it seep into her skin, trying to change her. She gripped Zerrick and the sensation lessened somewhat, at least enough to be able to see clearly again.

The four-winged horse strode up to them, and horror struck Mira anew. The eyes that gazed out of the equine features were human, opened wide in a semblance of hate, but clouded with pain and fear, as if within the beast cringed a poor human, trapped. The voice which came from the creature’s mouth, however, was steady, calm, and extremely arrogant. “You have been allowed to live long enough, and since you continue to foolishly use your magic in my Master’s domain, you will now face the Master’s wrath.”

About the Author

Judy Goodwin developed a passion for writing at a young age, creating picture books from the time she could read and write. She continued this passion throughout her schooling, earning her BA degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Along with the passion for English came a love of all languages, and Ms. Goodwin went on to study other languages as well, including German, French, and Japanese. She spent time as an exchange student in Germany, which helped to develop her love of other cultures.

She has published short stories in small press and online magazines including Space and TimeDreams and Nightmares, and Beyond Centauri. With the advent of eBooks and indie publishing, she decided to move into the brave new world of publishing with the debut of her first novel, Heart of the Witch.

Her second novel is anticipated in early 2014, entitled Journey to Landaran.

My Review

Heart of the Witch is a coming of age adventure. It is action packed from page one and rarely stops to let you take a breath. When there are some lulls, it's because you're taking a little time to savor the sweet romance between Zerrick and Mira. It's the perfect combination for Young Adult fantasy. 

I was skeptical about this book. I don't normally like witches and spells stuff. It's a bit overdone since Harry Potter, but this is not that kind of book. First of all, I guess you could call this a pseudo-historical fiction. While most of the culture is based on 1600's colonists, Ms. Goodwin adds a fantastic element of fantasy. She has created her own religion, her own countries, and in essence a new world. She's even recreated magic. It's isn't your typical wand wielding. As a matter of fact there are no wands. But I won't ruin the adventure of discovering how magic is used in this world.

I really liked this story. It was well written, fast paced, and I could really get behind the characters.


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