A Witch Alone (The Winter Trilogy) by Ruth Warburton
Published by Hodder Children’s Books
5 out of 5 stars
Format: paperback (also available in ebook – here)
Ok. So summary first before I launch into my review, because once I start I will not stop.
***this is the third book in the series, there will be spoilers for books 1 and 2, read at your peril***
A Witch Alone (AWA) picks up a few months after Seth has left Anna, she’s in a bit of a mess emotionally but thinks she’s hiding it well, and is taking lessons in all things magic from Abe (who’s still obviously dotty over her, yet she still hasn’t realized) and her Grandmother. There is no slow intro into the book, it sets off at a rocking pace, and doesn’t stop. Things start falling apart (literarily) at the Ealdwitan and Anna believes that finding the truth (and lies) about Anna’s mother, that protection spell and the link between Anna and Seth is the only way to fix things, so off to Russia she goes, why? I can’t tell you….it’ll spoil it.
I should not like Ruth Warburton. There are numerous reasons why I shouldn’t like her. Strangely she looks uncannily like my ex-sister in law (good for Ms Warburton as her doppleganger is very attractive, bad for me as I really dislike said ex-sister in law now), additionally she writes about witches, and destiny and all sorts of other possibly-sappy stuff. But I don’t dislike her, despite what logic says I should do. I feel like we should be friends, and that I could go all stalker like (I won’t!), and yes this is a little crazy, but it has been a long time since I’ve found a writer that not only pulls you into their world, but actually transplants that world into yours. There are good writers with good stories, there are ok writers with great stories (and vice versa) and there are many, many poor or average writers. Ruth (and yes, I think I have earn’t the suck up rights to be allowed to call her by her first name now) is the rare, rare thing – a great writer with a great story to tell. I’m not talking about Tolkin-esque epics with 100 page battle scenes, but I’m talking about a bloody good, engaging story that makes you care about it.
The whole series has been a success for me, but AWA is by far the best book in the trilogy. Another rarity in the written world, a series with a concluding book thats better than the first. AWA makes no apologies for being a third book, and doesn’t give any allowances to those that might not of read the first two, it goes straight into the story, and doesn’t stop. Whereas the last two books have had lulls in them, where Anna can collect her thoughts, stop for breath, there is no chance of that here, we bounce from battle to battle (be they emotional to physical), disaster to disaster, and then are left with a jaw dropping possibility of an ending, it doesn’t go where I thought it was going to go, the twists are totally unexpected (and we know how much I hate the expected twist) and handled beautifully. The ending is satisfying (despite not being how I thought it was going to end), yet leaves it open to new ideas, stories and futures, Ruth doesn’t tell the reader that its all going to be ok, nor does she say its all going to be disastrous, it just is. Its life – and thats brilliant really.
I held off on this review to find something negative to say. But I can’t think of anything. I devoured this book. I only took 3 days to read it due to flu, otherwise I’d of finished in a day.
Wait! I have thought of a bad point. What the hell am I supposed to read now? What could possibly match up?