I fell in love with this series when I ran across the first book, Bitter Night, and devoured it in one sitting. I’ve even pre-ordered this book. I’ve only done that for one other author. When I learned that Blood Winter was the last book in the series, I mourned. Then I delayed reading it because I didn’t want it to ever end. This was my choice for last week’s face-off. Be warned, this is a very dark urban fantasy. Delicious!
Title: Blood Winter (Horngate Witches)
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release date: December 2012
NEW GAME. SAME RULES. SHE FIGHTS. THEY DIE.
Max always does her job, no matter how brutal and bloody. That’s how it’s been ever since she was enslaved by a witch, turned into a supernatural warrior, and assigned to protect the coven of Horngate. But her job just got harder. . . .
Waves of wild magic have returned much of the world to a time when fairy tales were real and danger now lurks behind every tree and bush. As winter descends and food, heat, and water are harder to come by, many have turned to Benjamin Sterling for protection. Leader of the Earth’s Last Stand cult, Sterling claims to be the Hand of God, but his power and charisma secretly come from a dark and terrible source. With devout followers eager to do his sadistic bidding, he has his eyes on Horngate and its magical inhabitants. To save those she loves, Max will knowingly walk into a trap. But when the cult strips Max’s soul bare for all to see, will even Alexander—her lover and her strength—remain? And if she were to lose him, what does it matter if she gains the whole world…
There is something about the Horngate Witches series that captured me from the first book. The covers were great, but it’s what’s between the pages that kept me coming back. The author sets us up with unique characters and unforgettable world building. Each book built upon the last, and I loved revisiting the characters.
Max is an alpha female at her best, determined to do whatever it takes to keep her people safe. Her counterpart, Alex, is the perfect hero…tough, compassionate and just as deadly. I loved them as a couple, though I wish I could’ve seen them together more. Then you have the angels – they are two bad-ass macho men who can kick some serious ass! And the rest of her coven is just as memorable. I loved how magic was portrayed in the story…so very different from everything else I’ve read that I eagerly turned the pages. I enjoyed how the tension grew into a big crescendo then watched as the character had to dig their way out of the shit-storm.
This book wasn’t perfect, though, not that I was expecting it, but there were spots that disappointed me a little. Max seemed consumed with her feelings for Alex, almost to the detriment of the story. I also thought the story went too quickly, the action scenes cut a little too short. There were threads in the overlying arch of the series that were left dangling. Despite all that, if the author ever came out with another Horngate Witches book, I would snatch it up in a heartbeat!
Previous books in the series: