Review: Red Witch

13047090Title: Red Witch – The Tales of Ingrid Redstone

Author: Sean Patrick Traver

Series: none

Publisher: Rocket Surgery Books

Publish Date: June 20th, 2017

Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A silent-film star begins an affair with the Aztec god of the dead…

1910. Actress, occultist, and bohemian adventurer Ingrid Redstone travels to the fledgling city of Los Angeles in search of a legendary Hole in the Sky, said to be a portal to the Aztec afterlife. On the far side of it Ingrid meets Mictlantecuhtli, an ancient and bloodthirsty deity who soon becomes dangerously fascinated with the first living woman he’s ever met. Ingrid is no less entranced by ‘Mickey’ and his realm, where the totality of human remembrance is theirs to explore. But their dangerous relationship may have unforeseen consequences for both this world and the next when Ingrid is faced with the choice of becoming the privileged yet powerless queen of the dead, or attempting to thwart her supernatural lover’s unnatural ambitions.

*A Metaphysical Quest*
*A Surreal Romance Gone Wrong*
*A Genre-Bending Trip Across Time, Myth, & Memory*

Ingrid Redstone is a liberated witch facing a collision with life and death at the dawn of a strange new era. Her wanderings in the underworld bring her into contact with a cast of notables from the city’s past, including Dorothy Parker, Alfred Hitchcock, and Califia, the pre-Columbian Queen of California. From the ancient history of LA to the glittering future of the film industry, Ingrid goes where no one has gone before… and lived to tell about it.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of Red Witch in exchange for an honest review.

Personally, I found the book’s premise, albeit complex and highly unique, to be a confusing conglomerate of partially revealed facts which, out of necessity, I gradually attempted to piece together with my own wild and mostly unconfirmed assumptions.  While I anticipated the element of deceit and surprise to play a factor in the narrative, I wasn’t expecting to be thrust headfirst into an entirely unfamiliar world with little forewarning and even less explanation.  Most disconcertingly, the main character, who was similarly forced into this entirely new environment which failed to obey the laws of the natural world, elected to tackle everything unquestioningly, never conveying alarm, surprise, or shock at the introduction of a new phenomena.  I’m still at a loss as to how she gleaned information about the world around her that failed to be revealed by other characters.  Regardless of how she stumbled across this knowledge, she didn’t feel the need to share in most scenarios, further compounding my frustration.

One of the compounding issues with respect to my overarching confusion was the repeated references to a collection of coexisting “nows.”  While small fragments of information were gradually revealed and inferred by the characters regarding “nows,” they were never fully explained, despite their integral role in the storyline.  I would have preferred further clarification, rather than Ingrid’s blind speculations, particularly due to the prevalence of “nows” with respect to Ingrid’s repeated time travel.  I felt as if I were blindly grasping at straws when attempting to comprehend how the “nows” aligned and compared to one another, which isn’t the most desirable sensation while reading.  Needless to say, I was utterly lost and left in the dust by page ten, which didn’t bode well for the remainder of the book.

The characters, albeit possessing  an interesting collection of traits with a tremendous amount of potential, showed a severely restricted range of emotions, embracing the unfolding events with seemingly dull nonchalance.  As a reader, it was difficult to become emotionally invested in any of the characters as a result.  Ingrid’s failure to react to key plot points heavily influenced my sheer lack of interest in said plot points.  Furthermore, the characters remained rather static throughout the book, failing to display evidence of growth or change in response to their environments.  The establishment of more dynamic characterization would have further engaged readers, potentially compensating for their relatively muted emotional responses.

Additionally, I questioned several of Ingrid’s choices throughout the book, namely her alarming willingness to whole-heartedly and unwaveringly trust Death itself, falling instantaneously head over heels in love with him.  Had I been placed in a similar situation, I would have drawn the line at a romantic relationship, especially considering the sheer number of unanswered questions and unexplained occurrences.  Ingrid’s immediate and inexplicable attraction to Death was never addressed or questioned, and no rationale was provided for her eagerness to dive headfirst into an intimate relationship.

While I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the plot, I wish I had been able to appreciate the world-building and character development, with slightly less confusion along the way.  Overall, the writing style was very description heavy, painting vivid scenes for readers but leaving something to be desired with respect to the disproportionate and relative lack of dialogue.  I tend to prefer more dialogue intensive narratives, which made it difficult to wade through pages upon pages of giant, descriptive paragraphs that were broken up only intermittently by dialogue.

Categories Ratings
Plot & Premise Cauldron (Use for Stars)Cauldron (Use for Stars)
Writing Style Cauldron (Use for Stars)Cauldron (Use for Stars)Cauldron (Use for Stars)
Characters Cauldron (Use for Stars)
Romance Cauldron (Use for Stars)
World-Building Cauldron (Use for Stars)


1/5 Cauldrons

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I’m a pre-med college student with an impressive lack of free time and a high tolerance for caffeinated beverages. Having grown up in a rural town, I’m mildly addicted to country music, pickup trucks, and horseback riding.  While my favorite and most frequently read genres are fantasy and historical fiction, I make every effort to branch out and am beginning to read New Adult and Adult literature.
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