Review: “A Witch’s Feast” by C.N. Crawford

A Witchs FeastA review by Maria.

First I would like to thank writing team C.N. Crawford for allowing me to read and review their book, A Witch’s Feast, the 2nd book in The Witching Elm series. I had the opportunity to be apart of the Witching Elm tour earlier this year.

A Witch’s Feast picks right up from when The Witching Elm ended. The Battle of Maremount is over and Tobias, Fiona, and their friends are back in modern day Boston, having left Thomas and Celia behind in Maremount. Tobias and Fiona are still reeling over the death of Tobias’ girlfriend Eden, and Fiona’s boyfriend Jack who was exposed as the ultimate evil. Tobias is searching for revenge while Fiona is just looking to survive. Regular citizens like Munroe and her family are hunting witches after the attack on their school in the previous book. Munroe’s family invite the displaced students from school to live with them for the duration of the year. But their safe haven with her family is far from safe, with witch hunters around every corner.

Tobias is consumed by revenge in this book. His character turns a complete 180 from good to kind of evil and he strikes a pact with an evil god to try to get his revenge on Jack. He won’t let anything or anyone stand in his way, and pushes his friends away by lying to them and keeping secrets. He experiences a certain amount of guilt over his girlfriend’s death and focuses it on revenge and also blaming his friends since he felt like he spent too much time saving them in the battle. He also blames Fiona since he saved her first instead of his girlfriend. Tobias also feels conflicted for being attracted to Fiona while his girlfriend is dead.

Fiona was a more heavily featured character in this book making her and Tobias the leading characters. Fiona was smart, brave and compassionate. I grew to like her better as a character in this book. She becomes more confident in her magic and how to hide it from the witch-hunters. She’s in a very dangerous situation but able to keep a cool and smart head. She is also dealing with a huge amount of guilt after finding out her boyfriend Jack was evil and a murderer.

Jack was a more compelling antagonist in the last book. In this book everyone now knows he’s evil but he doesn’t do that many evil things. He’s still murdering people and eating hearts but his evil side definitely takes the back burner in this book. He spends most of his time plotting and obsessing rather annoyingly over Fiona. I would have liked more of his dastardly deeds to be featured so I could remember why I was supposed to hate him.

Thomas was the character I sympathized with the most. He was left behind in Maremount and he must adapt to the customs of the barbaric society. But he still views right and wrong like a modern man would. For example, chopping off a child’s arms and leaving them to die as punishment for stealing is clearly wrong. Thomas lands himself in prison for saving a child from that fate. There, he ponders a way to escape and travel back to his time. He’s brave, resourceful, and incredibly smart even at the face of certain death and some PTSD.

A Witch’s Feast had all the magic and fantasy which had made me love the first novel. It blended modern times with past fantasy. The book also included historical facts and small tidbits in it, which I enjoyed. Most of the novel went by fast but I found the chapters featuring Jack’s and Thomas’s perspectives went a bit slower for me. However I still enjoyed this second installment very much and am eagerly waiting the next book in this series!

This book did have some graphic violence in it, so I’d recommend it to older teens and adult readers

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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BLOG TOUR: Review of “The Witching Elm” by C.N. Crawford

The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford A review by Maria.

I received The Witching Elm from author C.N. Crawford for a honest review. I was excited to read this book because it sounded like it fit right in my reading niche. It was well worth the read, I couldn’t put this book down!

Main character Toby is from a duplicate world with magic, shape-shifting, royalty, and evil. He’s sent to today’s Boston to escape the evil Rawhed, intent on killing sorcerers -or philosophers as Toby prefers to be called- like him. Crawford did wonderful world-building, giving readers a glimpse of this universe before bringing Toby over to Boston. It was a terrific blend of Toby’s world, Maremount, and the contemporary one. He ends up at Mather Academy where he tries to blend in, but Toby can’t help doing magic and something follows him from home.

The magic is intense with many spells, rhymes, and poems being featured. I liked that some of the magic hurt to accomplish. Changing shape from a boy to a crow wasn’t an easy or painless process. It was amusing as Toby tried to keep his magic under wraps when people were inviting him to séances and such!

The Witching Elm gives a gothic feel to Boston and the boarding school Toby and his friends attend. However, instead of the usual boarding school trappings – boredom, romances, schoolwork – this book managed to keep focused on the magic and fantasy. It was unique and refreshing.

The history was amazing and well-researched. Many historical events and figures were mentioned, such as the Puritans, Salem Witch Trials, and King Philip. Historical items like hangings, wars, and Native American culture appeared in this book. Some liberties were taken, but they only enhanced the story.

This novel features three Points of View (main characters Toby, Fiona, and Thomas) and stays in each character’s viewpoint for multiple chapters. It was disconcerting at first because each new narrator wasn’t clearly stated, but revealed in the body of the chapter.

Toby is an extremely likable character. He leaves his world behind and survives in a very different one with only his wits and spells. His backstory is astounding; he was a peasant -or Tatter- not allowed to learn or do magic. Toby’s father taught him to read, even though it could get them all killed. Watching him attempt to blend was entertaining because he claimed to be from England but he didn’t have an accent or knowledge of his supposed homeland. Eventually, his new friends begin to learn the truth about Toby, but evil beings -bone wardens, Harvesters, and Rawhed himself- come after them and they create a coven to learn magic, protect themselves, and try to get Toby home.

Fiona is an interesting, intelligent female lead. She is wicked smart, almost genius at times, remembering things she hears only once and being the first to know anything. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and easily adapts after learning Toby’s identity and that magic exists, and displays courage in times of danger.

Thomas is a college professor with a reputation for researching history and magic. Fiona seeks him out when she suspects Toby isn’t what he seems. It was great getting into Thomas’s head, watching him start to believe in the unimaginable. He turns into a wonderful resource for Toby’s group and transforms from book nerd to brave hero.

Life or death situations start early on until gruesome showdowns happen in both worlds. So even though this is a YA book, I wouldn’t recommend it to very young teens. But the fantasy and history make this book a captivating read and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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Welcome to my tour stop for The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford. This is a YA dark fantasy and the review tour runs February 2nd-13th. Check out the tour page for more information.

About the Book:

Seventeen-year-old sorcerer Toby Corvin has one desire: to get back to Maremount, a world of talking ravens, ancient spells, and sinister bone wardens. Not only to fight a tyrannical monster, but to reunite with his girlfriend.
 There’s only one problem—he’s stuck in downtown Boston.
 After a brutal civil war forced Toby into our world, he took refuge in Mather Academy, blending in with the students in the prestigious boarding school. Sheltering in its creaky old walls, he secretly plots to save his home.
 But if anything can distract him from his mission, it’s his wild-haired and intriguing classmate Fiona. Of course, she has her own distractions with Jack: rich, mysterious, and annoyingly attractive.
 When a ghostly army from Maremount descends upon Boston, Toby and Fiona must work together, racing desperately to stop the slaughter. In the process, they face unspeakable danger while unearthing dark secrets of New England’s past—a past that holds the key to saving both worlds from destruction.

Goodreads | Amazon

On sale Feb. 5-11th for only .99 cents! 

 About the Authors:

CN_Crawford  C.N. Crawford is not one person but two. Christine (C) grew up in the historic town of Lexington, and has a lifelong interest in New England folklore – with a particular fondness for creepy old cemeteries. Nick (N) spent his childhood reading fantasy and science fiction further north during Vermont’s long winters.
      Together they work to incorporate real historical events and figures into contemporary urban fantasy novels.

Links: 

Author site | Twitter (@CN_Crawford) |facebook | pinterest

Giveaway:
1st Prize: Ring & Necklace handmade by the author
2nd prize (10 winners!): Piece of jewelry handmade by the author
Each item has a fragment of a love spell from the book. 
Open to US/CA/UK

a Rafflecopter giveawayThis tour was organized by CBB Book Promotions.