Cover for Unfettered II taken from its Amazon buy page for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine.

Spoiler Free Summary:  The Hedgewitch by Sarah Beth Durst is the twelfth story in the Unfettered II AnthologyHannah’s visit to the hedgewitch for charms to protect herself from the spirits that attack the village turns into something much larger. What will she do when the duty to protect people becomes her duty? How will she handle that task?

Character:  Hannah is a decent enough character, and there is a bit of an arc here despite being a shorter story. Hannah is competent, but not very proactive. That is a plot point. active, which is always a plus. I can’t say I really bonded with them, but they held my attention. 

Exposition: This story’s exposition is solid. There’s some worldbuilding going on, and that always requires a degree of exposition. The only down side is that exposition is front loaded, so the story may be hard to get into for some, but if you’re patient, you’re in for a pretty nice story. 

Worldbuilding: This felt a lot like the Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett. It’s nice in that the concept is similar (nature-based creatures attack and kill humans), but I felt like the concept was too similar. Swap out a little boy with a little girl, and the general premise isn’t changed all that much. That doesn’t mean this story isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it creates a comparison. For the record, anyone trying to compete with that story is at an unfair disadvantage. For all I know, Brett’s story started after this one came out (I really don’t know). Regardless of which followed which, Brett’s was far better. If you haven’t read either, I think you’ll love this story. If you’ve read the Demon Cycle, you might feel like this is just falls short. That’s interesting to note. Look, there are not original ideas, but we authors have to work very hard to provide some twist or angle that makes a story unique, and I didn’t find it in this one.

Image of Durst was taken from her website for review purposes under Fair Use doctrine. 

Dialogue: This was ok, but I’m not sure I was able to buy some of the conversation points and how things progressed. It wasn’t bad or wooden, but there was a lot of talking leading to thinking, and that sort of felt like Hannah was simply doing what she was told rather than growing. This is most notable during one particular scene. Outside of that scene, the dialogue was pretty sparse, which is why I remember that part so vividly.  

Description: This may be the strength of the story. The author does a great job providing vivid scenes. The description is probably better for locations than people, but I still had some great visual and audible cues for the characters.  

Overall: This is a good story. It’s a much cleaner (age appropriate) story than Demon Cycle. It’s a pretty nice set up for what would be an interesting longer story. It’s a nice glimpse into an interesting world. 

Thanks for reading



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