Thursday, 19 May 2016

Witchhunter: Red Shadow

Red Shadow (Witchhunter #1)

by Zoltán Pósfai

4 out of 5

Conley Theron had been a lone witch hunter for centuries. Some events, he mostly erased from his memory, fuel his relentless hatred toward the witches that most of the world considers old tales. His mysterious longevity and immunity to witchcraft allowed him to become a prime predator. During his hunts, he finds traces of a witch who apparently slipped away from him for a long time. While investigating and pursuing her, the hunt takes a twist unexpected to both. The witch home world is threatened for the first time while the hunters motives and past start to crack.

Conley Theron is a witch hunter. After centuries on this earth, it is all he knows; but he is about to find out how little he really knows. Scarlet is his enemy, but she is the only one who can help him; and she might be the only one to open his eyes.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review, although I would have bought it anyway. What can I say, it's about witches and it doesn't break down into a fluffy romance!
This was a good read and I enjoyed it a lot.

This is just a story about a man who doesn't age and doesn't die. His only purpose in life is to kill witches, and over the centuries he has perfected this skill.
He doesn't live or interact with people more than necessary; he simply exists, ground down to the fact that he is a witch hunter. His actions are logical and automated, as he tracks witches across the globe and kills them.
He picks up aliases when necessary, and casts them away with ease, never connecting or getting involved with anyone or anywhere.
Conley doesn't show any weaknesses of character; he never gets angry or bitter; he never gets distracted by joy, and rarely by pretty faces.

The story follows a few self-assigned missions before Conley catches up with Scarlet and gets dragged to another world - the home of witches, demons and strange creatures.
There is a flowing description of the animals, plants and dangers, as Conley tries to make his way across this foreign land. It felt like this was the biggest challenge he had faced, not knowing the basics of what is edible; how many hours are in a day; what traps may lay ahead.
It felt like a mash-up of Bear Grylls and Alice in Wonderland. (I know, just the mix we've all been waiting for!)
Posfai really does display his imagination with the creation of this world and the witches. He also provides plenty of logic and background to make this feel like a very real step.

Scarlet, the red-haired witch on the cover only comes into play in the second half of the book, and she is a supporting character in Red Shadow. I quite like how she was introduced and used in this first book; this is Conley's story and Scarlet doesn't detract from that, only supplying information where necessary.

The plot lacks a little punch. Don't get me wrong, it is effective, and Conley keeps driving it along; I just felt that with this being the first book in a new series it was establishing the foundation and building to something bigger.

The downsides:
Just a few minor things. There are a lot of flashbacks throughout the story, and they are great and help to build Conley's history and helps define who he is, as the author can't rely on the character's (lack of) emotions to build a picture. But I wish they had been more clearly defined.
I would be reading a sentence about here and now that would spill into the middle of a memory without any preamble or change of tone. There's no "he remembered that..." or "this was just like that x years ago..."
There's no change from present to past tense.
I was actually reading one of the flashbacks going on about him traipsing through a jungle. A jungle? Wait, a minute ago we were in North America. I really had to concentrate to not miss the switch.
There are also a few instances in the first half of the book that had wrong words or tenses that should have been caught by the proofreader.

Anyways, overall it is an intriguing adventure and I will definitely be continuing with this series.

Goodreads link

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