To Kill a Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee
“Powerful prince Malcolm is facing ruin in the wake of a curse that has destroyed his harvest. He blames the band nomadic Móndyalítko who summer in the meadow below his castle—and he is determined to root out the people who caused the blight by any means necessary.
When Céline and Amelie Fawe, descended from the Móndyalítko, learn that their mother’s people are under suspicion of sabotage and treason, they set out to use their magical gifts to save their estranged relatives and learn about their own origins.
Now it’s up to the sisters—along with their motley escort, including a prince’s lieutenant, a shape-shifter, and an old woman with a murky past—to discover the source of the curse to restore life to the ravaged land and protect the innocent from unfair vengeance.”
One of the fantasy sub-genres that I quite enjoy is a good mystery embedded in a fantastical setting. My first experience with this was Tamara Siler Jones’s awesome book Ghosts in the Snow, and I’m always on the lookout for another that captured my attention like that one did. In Hendee’s Mist-Torn Witches series, I found what I was looking for, and To Kill a Kettle Witch is just as satisfying as the others.
One of the things that I like about this book was the dynamics among the characters. Celine and Amelie have their usual interactions, but there are some tensions with other players that get resolved in this book. I also really enjoyed how the author wrote Prince Malcolm’s character. She keeps you questioning what his motivations are, and indeed, whether or not he’s acting of his own volition.
The reveal of who was the caster of the curse was well-done. I had some suspicions about the identity of the perpetrator, and I was mostly on target, although Hendee does a good job of keeping the issue muddled until well into the novel. This book isn’t as much of a “forensic science in fantasy” as the others have been, but it still has enough physical searching for clues to offset the sisters’ use of their psychic gifts.
While this isn’t one of the books that I’ll rave and Muppet-flail about, it’s certainly entertaining and contains enough cool characters and action to satisfy when you’re looking for a quick, engrossing read. And let’s face it: sometimes, that’s exactly what you’re in the mood for.
This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)