Title: A Witch In Winter
Author: Ruth Warburton
Release Date: 5th January 2012
"Anna Winterson doesn’t know she’s a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power.
When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that’s controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain."
When love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what’s real?" (Goodreads)
When I first ever saw A Witch In Winter and read the blurb, I didn't think I would particularly like it. It sounded like just yet another average, soppy, possibly-a-little-bit-cliche paranormal romance. Although it did involve witches, which was a good point and made it a little different; I can't remember reading a paranormal romance revolving around witches recently... Angels, werewolves and vampires - yes, but witches...no. Anyway, I just had a feeling, a witchy intuition maybe, that A Witch In Winter wouldn't be my cup of tea. Still, when it magically appeared in my local library, I decided to give it a chance and hope that I might be pleasantly surprised. Sadly, this wasn't the case. It wasn't that I hated the book or anything, I just didn't really like it.
For one, I definitely did not fall under Anna's spell. I got the feeling that she was meant to be a strong female protagonist type of character but in actual fact, she only sometimes showed a hint of a headstrong and determined personality; other times, she just seemed to give up too easily.
She was also one of those self-sacrificial characters who think they have to save everyone by isolating themselves from everyone else and sacrifice everything they want because they're the reason people around them are getting hurt, and say things like 'I'm bad for you, you shouldn't be around me'... I'm sure you've come across enough of those kind of characters to get the idea. And, while at first I thought it might be refreshing to have a girl playing this role instead of a boy as it has been every other time I've encountered this kind of character, I soon realised that this 'I have to sacrifice myself to save everyone' and 'I'm bad, you should stay away from me' kind of character is just annoying whether you have a boy or a girl playing it.
Anna and Seth, and their relationship really rather annoyed me. They came across to me as over-dramatic, whiny, erratic teenagers. Teenagers who claimed to be desperately and profoundly in love with each other. I will also take this moment to mention that Seth's and Anna's relationship was one of those 'insta-love' ones - just another thing to add to the list of reasons why I didn't like, or believe, this relationship. At one point, Seth furiously declared Anna 'the worst, most despicable person I've ever met,' (or something along those lines - I can't remember the exact wording) despite having professed how deep and true his love for her was earlier before. Well, if he loved her as truly as he claimed, then nothing should have been able to change his mind so drastically. I mean, on the love-hate spectrum, he literally catapulted from one extreme to the other even quicker than the insta-love relationship between him and Anna formed.
The character I liked most was definitely not one of the main characters, but one of the secondary characters - Emmaline Peller. She was sensible and nice, but still a strong character, and I would probably have enjoyed a book focusing on her as the protagonist rather than A Witch In Winter, which had Anna as its protagonist.
One thing I must give Ruth Warburton credit for, though, is her writing. While I may not have really enjoyed the storyline of A Witch In Winter, I found that there was some very nice descriptive writing and use of some gothic imagery which mixed together to conjure up a somewhat spooky, magical atmosphere.
This is probably the first "bad'' review I've written on The Book Parade, and I know I have probably overlooked some of the positive points that I'm sure A Witch In Winter had but didn't shine out for me, clouded over by the fact that overall I didn't really enjoy it, but I know that a lot of people didn't have the same issues with this book that I did, so please don't be deterred form reading this because of me, although if some of the things I mentioned sound like the kind of things that annoy you in a book, then you may not want to be too eager to read this.
(And, WHOAH, that was a long sentence! ;) )