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Witch of the Lake, #1
Published by Self-Published on July 27, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
A witch. A murder. A curse…
Beneath the murky waters of the lake, an ancient being slumbers, and Brygida is its servant. Kept sheltered in the woods by her mothers from the nearby village, Brygida has never had so much as a friend—until the day she meets a charming stranger painting by the lake. He invites her to the village’s harvest feast, but her taste of the forbidden ends with a murder.
Called into service for the first time, Brygida must take up her ancestral duty as Reaper of Death and solve the murder within three days. If she brings the murderer to the lake on the third day, the being she serves will be sated. If she fails, Brygida herself will be drawn beneath the murky waters, and the village massacred. There’s only one problem: the main suspect is her charming painter, Kaspian.
As Brygida investigates, the dangers are many and answers few. The village and her family stand against her, and with time running short, the lake demands a price. Brygida believes Kaspian is innocent, but can she stake her life on it, when failure means condemning the rest of the village, and being dragged into the deep...?
Find out what lurks beneath the lake in FEAST OF THE MOTHER, the first entry in a romantic dark fantasy series inspired by Slavic mythology and folklore, sure to please fans of Juliet Marillier’s Blackthorn & Grim series and Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Trigger Warnings: Death (murder), assault (choking), mentions of sexual assault
Feast of the Mother was a mini struggle bus.
I like the world-building and Slavic influences Honfleur and Andrews use throughout the first book in the Witch of the Lake series, but I wanted more. More than likely a personal preference, but I ended up a little disappointed. Things also didn’t pick up until around 80% of the book — the pacing to me felt super slow and much of the focus felt like it was on world-building? Telling through description rather than showing?
Honestly, my curiosity got the better of me because I wanted to know the end and who the murderer is or if everyone dies.
That sounds sinister, but hear me out: Brygida lives a sheltered life with her mothers in the woods near a lake that has something ancient in it. She wants to see the world beyond the woods (because let’s face it, being surrounded by trees probably isn’t that great) and leaps at the chance to go when she’s invited by Kaspian while he’s painting to festivities at a local village. Everything seems fine until the next morning… when someone ends up murdered, and she is called to be the Reaper of Death to find out whodunit.
The kicker: she has three days to find out who it is and bring them to the lake, or both her and the village get massacred. In other words, there’s really no winning unless the correct murderer is found on time, and the chaotic, evil side of me is secretly delighted. No pressure to Brygida
I can’t believe she’s so fucking calm about this I aspire to be at that level. I had to find out if she finds out the murderer.
If she did nothing, she’d be damned, but if she was wrong, she’d be equally damned.
Some things were repetitive and it got exhausting.
All signs point to Kaspian as the murderer, but Brygida is one of two people other than Stefan (who I absolutely adore and think is a fucking blessing) who believes otherwise. I really liked how she’s resistant rather than going with everyone else blindly and insists on looking at all the possibilities, exploring them until it’s exhausted.
But her duty to Mokosza — and to everyone — wasn’t to deliver what they wanted, but what Mokosza, Roksana, and the murderer deserved.
But the whole “I don’t think it was Kaspian” can get tiring because it kept getting repeated all the time in Feast of the Mother. I felt like I was seeing those exact words or some variation every few pages if not every page and because not much is going on for most of the book, it dominated. But the repetition isn’t there for the sake of being there; there is definitely an intention of showing groupthink in action and how when a few people speak up, there is overwhelming pressure from the majority to conform to the norm and just go with it. It just might be irritating for some.
Feast of the Mother is a decent start to a series.
I’m not sure if I would personally continue with the sequels in Witch of the Lake, but I’m a sucker for mythology so I might decide to take a chance on the sequel. But for those who don’t mind the feeling of repetition and the majority of the book spent building up the story, you might enjoy Feast of the Mother.