Author: Anna McKerrow
Book(s): Red Witch (book 2)
Number of books in series: 3
Release date(s): 10th March 2016
Source: Sent to me by Quercus
Seventeen, heartbroken, powerful; Melz has run away from home, run away from the safety of the Greenworld. In the cities of the Redworld, Melz discovers she’s special, desired. And not just for her magical talents. When Melz meets the young but influential Bran, their attraction is instant and electric. In the Redworld, with Bran by her side, unrestrained by the customs of her former life, Melz knows she can reach her true potential. But the world Bran wants to give Melz is ravaged by war and violence. Oil is running out, and people will do anything to gain control of the remaining resources. Melz may be more powerful than ever, but even great power can be a curse when used against you.
I read Crow Moon last year (you can read my review here), and whilst it wasn’t a huge winner for me, Red Witch certainly is. At first the book felt fairly unpromising as it opened with a retelling of what had happened in the last book. In most cases this is fine, but here it just felt like we were being told and not shown – this didn’t reflect Anna McKerrow’s skills as a writer. Having said this, it was actually really useful – it’s been a while since I read Crow Moon (if I’d thought ahead I would’ve reread it before starting Red Witch, but I’m just not that organised!) so it helped to rejig my memory and made everything make sense.
I think one of the things that made this book so much better than the first was that Anna McKerrow had already laid the foundations of the world in the first instalment, so it was instantly very familiar in Red Witch. I really love the world in this book, and it was so great to just focus on the story and characters instead of having to try to picture what everything looked like and what the dystopia was because I already knew it.
Melz really was the most amazing protagonist – feisty, kind, powerful, and most importantly realistic – I would take her over Danny any day. It might be because I’m female myself, or because the author is, but I related to Melz much better than I ever did to Danny in Crow Moon (which I think is the main reason I loved this book so much). She was just so complex , without being frustrating, and I agreed with each decision she made (which is, to be honest, pretty rare), but in no way did the story become predictable, which made it an escapist read.
I found the Greenworld interesting in Crow Moon but the Redworld was much more up my street because it focussed on the dystopia I love best – a corrupted version of our own society. I think the reason why I like these dystopias more than the stereotypically structured (but cruel) societies is just that; they’re not typical and are MUCH more realistic because they could literally happen tomorrow (eeeek!)
At the beginning of every chapter is a piece of poetry, chant, information or story from the Greenworld Society which I LOVE. It makes every chapter even more meaningful and I’m always in awe at some of the beautiful pieces Anna McKerrow creates. My favourite two from Red Witch are definitely these ones from chapters four and eighteen: “Punish the ill-educated, create the criminal – From Tenets and Sayings of the Greenworld.” and “War is not for the Greenworld. We leave war to those who have not found peace.” – From Tenets and Sayings of the Greenworld.” Also, the extracts from Melz’s diary are actually really interesting and not cringy at all – forget “dear diary” and say hello to “Greenworld Journaling.”
Finally, and possibly my strongest point, I loved the romance element of Red Witch. It stayed completely true to Melz’s character, and her upbringing in the Greenworld, and didn’t overpower the story. I went through a period of being seriously bored by love in YA books, but luckily that’s over and I keep discovering couples that I believe. Another thing I really enjoyed was being reunited with characters from Crow Moon – they genuinely felt like old friends and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book (coming out next year) to be with them again.
Have you read Crow Moon or Red Witch yet? Which was your favourite?