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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Patriot Witch" Traitor to the Crown Series by C. C. Finlay (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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Every American at one point in their lives has studied the Revolutionary War. Even those from other countries has learned something about the war that gained America it's independence from the British. What would happen if people found out that what they believed to be true wasn't the complete truth? What would happen if both sides during the war used a secret society of witches and magic to try and better the chances of winning. C.C. Finlay takes readers on a journey through what would happen if the British and the Colonies had used magic during the Revolutionary War in his series Traitor to the Crown.

Patriot Witch, the first of three books in the series, starts out with Proctor Brown. Brown is an ordinary young man living in the colonies helping out his family on the farm, and joining the local militia as tensions are growing strong with the British. However Proctor Brown's family holds a secret that could result in death if it became known: there is a long family history of witchcraft. Trying to keep that a secret Brown goes on with his daily living.

One afternoon while in Boston, Brown runs into a bunch of British officers but something isn't right. A flash of light from around one of the British officers neck leads Brown to discover that the British may be using other methods in order to make them stronger and resistant to any type of physical harm.

A bunch of events lead to the start of fighting between the two sides. Brown realizes that with the British using magic the Colonies may not stand a chance at all of winning any type of battles. What Brown doesn't know is how far the magic goes and who is behind it.

As the tensions grow, Brown will learn more about the magic that he yields and how best to use it in the fight against the British. With battle scenes, a romantic storyline, and plenty of magic Patriot Witch starts a great trilogy.

Patriot Witch is a quick historical fantasy that packs a lot into a little book. Although the beginning of the book starts off before the first shots of the war has begun and the last event of the book is the fighting at Bunker Hill, the book stands at 327 pages. There isn't a total conclusion to the story and the rest of the series will be required to fully understand the storyline.

Although the setting of Patriot Witch is during the Revolutionary War, and even though there are brief appearances from some of the famous names in history, the bulk of the novel revolves around fictional characters during that time period.

Sometimes historical fantasy can come across as a little cheesy. Patriot Witch is anything but cheesy, and makes for a quick read.

There is a pace to the book that is quick and doesn't dwell on the little details. The constant action keeps the storyline moving and never growing stale. Although it takes a while for the main character, Brown to learn how to use his witchcraft, once he has established some form of control over the magic the book starts moving along.

There is a small downside to the quicker pace. With the exception of Proctor Brown and later in the book Deborah, most of the characters are a little one sided. This can be attributed to the fact that the book doesn't dwell on unnecessary scenes, so characters pop in and pop out of a section of the book. This helps in having more time for readers to get to know the main character but if for some reason the main character doesn't bond with the reader it may be a problem.

Another element of the book that is very well done are the fighting segments and the setting. From the moment I picked up the book, I was transported to 1775 Boston area. Finlay does an excellent job of taking readers right to the area and making the conversations, and actions around the character believable. It's hard to incorporate magic with a setting that everyone is very familiar with, but the magic fits right in and doesn't appear to be awkward.

The battle scenes are very realistic. Along with the setting, this takes readers right to the heart of the battles. There is just the right amount of length spent on the battles and the descriptions put you right in the heart of the fighting. Although one side does have a magic protection spell, the fighting isn't done with magic and adds to the reality of the fighting.

Overall I was very impressed with Patriot Witch. C. C. Finlay kicks off a great series and sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the Traitor to the Crown series. Although there aren't a lot of characters to choose from the quick pace of the novel makes for an enjoyable read. Anyone who is a history fan, or just those that enjoy reading fantasy will enjoy this book, I look forward to seeing where the series takes us.


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