April 19, 2013

Review: Queen Witch by J.R. Pearse Nelson

Series: Foulweather Twins 1
Format: ARC
Release Date: February 11, 2013

Publisher: Self-published
Source: Author
Genre: YA-Fantasy
Stubborn and suspicious are two qualities that don’t go over well in the Queen family…

Where does my story truly begin? Maybe with the birth of twins to a soon-dead witch. Or possibly with the name bestowed on me by the Lady, the immortal we serve. She called me Sage, and my sister Wren. The Foulweather twins. As I choose to see it, my story begins when I first participated in the course of my life. When I started making my own decisions, despite everything I’d been taught. Forced recluse with a secret life? That’s me.

Sage Brighton is a young woman of incredible power, but she doesn’t decide how that power is used, or anything else about her life. As a witch of the Queen family, and a twin, Sage will serve the Lady all her days. The immortal has plans for Sage and her twin Wren. They are to be her Hands, her enforcers in the mortal, modern world. But first Sage must survive her training, learn to control her sociopathic sister without getting maimed in the process, and all the while try to keep something of her life for her own.

J.R. Pearse Nelson is one of my favorite self-published writers. I stalk her blog because I like how she shares the creative process behind her books. When she started talking about QUEEN WITCH I was instantly drawn to the story not just because of the concept but due to the inside information I have that JRPNelson was generous enough to share with her followers. So this novel became special because it almost didn't get published and I was one of those people rooting for the Twins to see the light of day.

And now the final product is here. A story spanning several years, QUEEN WITCH reminded me a little bit of The Chronicles of Narnia because of the power struggle between the Lady and Chaos and how it resembles the White Witch and Aslan's conflict. But more on that later. The Foulweather twins are Sage and Wren Brighton, bright twins with promising talents and magic. Since birth, they've been trained to eventually be the Lady's Hand and serve her purpose. Initially, Sage didn't question her destiny but as she grew older and the Lady became more demanding and controlling, she started questioning her purpose. What's more is that Sage is slowly getting more wary and afraid of her twin Wren not just of her growing powers but Sage feels the Lady is using them for something not entirely pure and she's afraid that being the Lady's Hand will corrupt Wren and pull them apart. 
Chaos witches were like the antithesis of the Queen witches. They were unpredictable, utterly uncontrolled. They exploited their powers whenever and however they chose, as individuals.
Aside from this internal conflict she's feeling, the Lady's nemesis, Chaos, is slowly gaining power. As the Lady's Hand, it's now her responsibility to help put Chaos in check and make sure that he and his supporters doesn't usurp the Lady. But a twist of events had Sage discovering sensitive information about the Lady pushing her further into doubt and  by the end of QUEEN WITCH, Sage is faced with a conundrum that might put her and Wren on opposing teams.

QUEEN WITCH has a journal feel to it, written in Sage's POV, the story has more narration than character interaction. I like dialogue and character-driven stories and I wish that QUEEN WITCH had more of that because as Sage and Wren are twins, it would've been interesting to see that dynamic explored and the breakdown of their twin-ship traced and showcased. Not to say that it wasn't explained but it felt speculative on some parts as I didn't really feel like we've been fully introduced to Wren in the same depth as we know Sage. Oddly enough, there seems to be a clear disconnect between the two and again, I wish this facet was explored to further drive the impending conflict between the two. I might be wrong but the fate of the world will eventually lie on the Foulweather Twins so that's where my wanting for Wren is stemming from. Nothing is more nightmarish than your own sibling being your greatest adversary and in this case, your own twin.
I didn't envy my twin her prowess. Truly, I didn't the more I saw of her abilities, the more I feared her. I feared her quietly, hoping to all the Lady held dear she'd never realize it. I feared her with regret.
QUEEN WITCH is a hodgepodge of genres and JRPNelson herself said that she found it challenging to categorize her latest novel's genre. Why you ask? It started as YA with the twins story kicking off when they were in their early teens spanning years until they turned 20. But throughout the story, QUEEN WITCH remained YA as far as the story and overall wholesomeness is concerned. But it could easily mature to New Adult and maybe Adult-Fantasy depending on which JRPNelson chooses to go. On top of that very general genre, QUEEN WITCH has fantasy and dystopian elements so I'm sure this will appeal to a lot of YA-Fantasy readers. 

As the first novel of Foulweather TwinsQUEEN WITCH did a real good job in terms of world-building. The story is set in modern times but it also has an old world feel to it. I also liked how the Lady seems to be this silent but powerful force that has so much influence amongst her people and how she wields her power in a very cunning way. The conflict posed at the end of the novel is intriguing and I'm really eager to see how the twins are going to survive this test in their relationship. Sage seems to be this levelheaded person while Wren is the impulsive one but at the same time, I won't be surprised if Sage turns out to be the one corrupted and Wren her savior. So right now I can only speculate but it's really exciting how the story is going to twist and turn in the succeeding story/ies. Can't wait!
How dare you? You've never given me a chance to control myself, Sage. You've stepped in at every juncture. - Wren

Purchase Queen Witch

I am a fantasy and paranormal romance author. My work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark. 

I'm a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. I live with my husband, two small daughters and the family dog. I'm always searching for the magic in our world. I love to weave tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. I'm the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, and Queen Witch, the first installment of the Foulweather Twins fantasy series.

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  1. I'm very character driven, so I'm not sure how well I'd respond to a book with so little dialogue. I may try it though, because witches rock.

    1. There is but the back and forth between characters are sporadic. And they are kick ass!

  2. I don't know how I would feel about the journal style, and like Ali I like the character driven. But thanks for honest review BRaine

    1. It's not like journal entries but the style is like she's telling the story in a narrative. LOL damn I think I used the wrong terms here.


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