Sunday, 23 November 2014


Brew (Salem's Revenge #1)

by David Estes

4 out of 5

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved. 

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; he has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.

Rhett has everything he could hope for, a supportive foster family, and his two best friends.  He's a book blogging geek, but school is survivable due to a promising american football career.
One night sees the whole world thrown into chaos, as witches rise up to seek revenge for hundreds of years of persecution.  They kill what humans they can, playing with the survivors.
Thanks to his mysterious neighbour Mr Jackson, Rhett not only survives, but is trained to kill witches.

I am a huge fan of witch stories (who knew!), especially when they are cast as something strong and morally questionable.
The witch gangs exploit the apocalypse and battle survivors and each other for territory.

Rhett quickly adapts to being a witch hunter.  In fact, it turns out that he's rather good at it.  After a few months training with Mr Jackson, Rhett finally tears away, with the sole drive of finding his best friend Xave and girlfriend Beth.
Rhett was just a nice, normal guy.  He was hardened by the constant fight to survive, and having to kill to survive.  He was single-minded in finding his friends, logic told him they are dead, but he won't rest until they are rescued or revenged.
I felt he kept his head stuck in the sand - with him being our hero and narrator, it did make it rather hard to see the bigger picture.  I never felt I really knew what was going on, and what my opinion should be of the separate parties.

After leaving Mr Jackson, there was a period of it being one man and his dog (Hex is awesome, I love him).  Personally I felt the story lagged here, and it was only when he meets sisters Laney and Trish did it really pick up and get interesting.

I felt that the story was very similar to a zombie apocalypse video game.  Move.  Fight.  Kill.  Meet character to impart some details.  Move.  Kill.  Score weapons.
It often swung between a 3 and a 5 star for me.  It's a good book, but not my personal favourite from Estes' work.

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