Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
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.
Witchbane (Witchbane #1) by Morgan Brice was a terrific paranormal romance by an author I was familiar with from his other supernatural hunter series, Badlands, which is loosely connected to this one. In fact, it was that couple and series that sent me looking to read Witchbane and check out this couple.
Starting the story in the past, with the death of Jesse, it a powerful start because you immediately love the connection with the brothers as the characterizations are so strong. From there we flash forward to the present and the years past. Seth, alone, family torm from him in every way possible, now living a new reality that includes fighting against murderers and criminals who aren’t human or who are using magic to commit their crimes.
The plot which is fascinating, ties his haunted, painful past to his current mission to find and save Jackson Malone from the same fate as his brother. I thought the entire motive behind the murders was clever and it kept me thinking and so many options up in the air about people and future storylines. It’s a storyline that potentially can keep on giving.
The many surprises here in the plot vie with the layered characterizations and I was completely invested in both the couple and the suspense filled plot! Morgan Brice does a terrific job of incorporating just the right local spooky location, in this case places like the Victorian Gothic Pump House in the James River Park in Richmond, VA where the book takes place. Normall the author also uses more of the individual “Southern” spirits and monsters, having them make appearances as they often do in the Badlands series. But here it’s mostly ghosts, some Grims, witches, warlocks, and the Ultimate baddie! They all, of course, were more than enough here, for cause for alarm. But I missed the local supernatural quality and hope to see it in the future stories. That really raises the bar in the other series when you bring in the local superstitions and legends then brings them to life.
The relationship between Seth and Even (aka Sonny which threw me at first) is a complicated one and suffers because of lack of communication. While I always wish my mcs would “adult up” here, in this case, given each man’s poor relationship history, this is almost a given. Still frustrating but understandable. There is a lot of hot sex, a lot of action, tons of suspense, and a very realistic HFN. These two have a lot to figure out and a new start in front of them.
Kale Williams does such a top job narrating here. He switches characters effortlessly, giving each a unique and easily identifiable personality. His tones are rich and made this audiobook a joy to listen to even when I was on the edge of my seat, panicking over the fate of our main characters. In short, just a great all around experience. I can’t wait to listen to the next one in the series. And I’m definitely recommending this one and this narrator to all who love to listen to supernatural romances.
Cover art is wonderful and a perfect representation of the couple, Seth in front.
Published March 29th 2019 by Tantor Audio (first published February 19th 2018)
Original Title Witchbane
Edition Language English
Series Witchbane #1