Tuesday, September 29, 2020

MG review of Witch Wars by Alane Adams, illustrations by Jonathan Stroh

Witch Wars by Alane Adams, illustrations by Jonathan Stroh
Series:  Book Three of The Witches of Orkney 
Format:  Paperback
Number of Pages:  208
October 13th, 2020 
Source:  Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Opening Line:  "Iduna gathered her apples, carefully plucking them from the sacred tree."

From Goodreads:  Abigail's second year at the Tarkana Academy has been an all-out disaster.  She's just unwittingly helped Vertulious, an ancient he-witch and powerful alchemist destroy Odin's Stone and restore his powers, and now all of Orkney is caught up in the threat of war as the witches prepare to destroy the helpless Orkadians.  Determined to set things right, Abigail and Hugo set off for Jotunheim, the land of the giants, to find a weapon to restore the balance.  All they have to do is track down the God of Thunder and convince Thor to turn his hammer over to them. 

As with her previous books, Adams begins each of her stories with a prologue, providing an introduction to previous events, some of the Norse mythology the stories are based on and this time she introduced the reader to Iduna, the caretaker of the magical apples that give the god's their immortality.  We also learned some of the backstory about Vertulious, his interest in alchemy and his connection to Rubicus.  There's even a quick glimpse of Thor.

I must say Witch Wars is my favorite book of the series thus far. The characters are interesting and I really enjoy Hugo and Abigail's friendship.  Hugo continues to be such a sweet boy.  I love his determination in stopping the war between the witches and Orkadians.  Hugo may be a scientist at heart and not so much of a fighter, but he still challenges the witches beliefs and really doesn't want either side to go into battle.   Abigail meanwhile is also in a tough position, struggling over her loyalty to her coven versus feeling responsible for everything that has happened so far.  Being blamed for Endera's mother's death, her part in Vertulious (Verty) regaining his powers, and not feeling strong enough to go up against him.  There's even a part of her that feels like she isn't living up to the witches code.  Shouldn't her witches heart be made of stone like all the rest of her coven? 

But then Verty threatens to hurt Hugo to get what he wants and Abigail realizes that she doesn't want to be Verty's puppet, so she agrees to go to Jutunheim with Hugo. I really loved reading about their adventures in the land of giants and even their unexpected trip at sea meeting Queen Capricorn of the mermaids.  And of course Thor was a delight.  He isn't easily swayed when it comes to helping out the witches,  their problem's don't concern him as they aren't problems for the god's.  It's amusing that in order to win him over Abigail and Hugo had to find something he was willing to bargain for in order to borrow his hammer. 

I really love the direction that the story seems to be taking.   The importance that's placed on finding a balance of power between the witches and Orkadians and the emphasis on the choices that we make defining our character.  Loyalty, revenge, forgiveness, and friendship were just a few of the topics intermingled into the plot.   It's not always easy to decide to do the right thing and while Hugo and Abigail may have averted a war for the time being, there's definitely a new battle brewing ahead.  I'm excited that there will be more books in the series and looking forward to reading the next one.  

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