Title: Witch Hunt
Author: Nick Chivers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Mike, Nick, Drew, Jerome, Alec
Mike thought he could escape his past. He renounced his crown as High Mage of The Council, had the Bands of Binding placed on him, and tried to start over as a normal human.
It didn’t work. And now a part of that past wants him dead, and Mike is running for his life.
With his best friend, Andrew, and Andrew’s soulbound partner along for the ride, Mike can’t help but feel lonely until he meets Rick, an all-around gorgeous man who might just be the wrong guy—again—especially since Mike can’t shake an ex-lover who’s hoping for a second chance. It’s a lot to deal with as demonic forces pursue him from Mongolia to Brazil, but Mike has to make it to the safety of The Council if he doesn’t want to be the prize trophy at the end of this witch hunt
Mike appears to be the average twenty-something gay twink. He’s obsessed with shopping, having a good hair day, and overcoming his perpetual streak of being unlucky in love. In reality, Mike is over 150 years old. He’s one of the most powerful witches alive, but he has voluntarily submitted to a form of bondage in which his powers are diminished and controlled by three wrist bands which he cannot remove.
Mikes best friend Drew shows up one day with his new boyfriend Jerome. They inform Mike that they’ll be escorting him to the worldwide council meeting where Mike’s fate will be decided. The ruling members of the witch community have decided that it is time to remove Mike’s bands. The entire magical world is currently under attack by renegade demons, and they need Mike’s power to defeat them.
Thus begins a quest. The threesome starts a journey around the world that leads them to several continents, and finally there is a climactic showdown in Egypt where at last Mike must battle his arch enemy, the evil Alekrion. This demon nemesis tries to tempt Mike by offering him unlimited power and urges Mike to join him in his quest to take over the world. Mike must decide if he will use his newly re-acquired power for good or for evil and in the process determine if it is not too late for him to find love.
I enjoyed the characterization in this story. Mike was a reluctant hero. He was quirky and cute and at times self-effacing. At other points in the story he came across as being rather cocky and arrogant. In other words, he was much like the typical gay guy you’d meet in a club–very sweet at heart, but with a bitchy side. His sidekicks were new boyfriends, head over heels in love. I found it endearing the way they fawned all over each other as if on an extended honeymoon.
What I found jarring was the fact that the story had no setup. I was confused in the beginning, not understanding what the heck was going on. Details about the magical powers were revealed during the story, but they were presented in such an extensive and mechanical manner that it seemed I was getting a lot of information I did not really need to know (or care about). So it just seemed odd. Where I could have used a little “info dumping” the story rushed forward, and when I wanted the story to progress, it got bogged down unnecessarily.
Overall I liked the story. I did think the MCs were at times dramatic and overly emotional, but I could buy that. A lot of gay guys in real life are exactly like that. The villain was also a tad on the outrageous side, but this too was befitting. I didn’t get the impression that the author was going for a really serious plot or message, at least not in the sense that it was heavy. It was good entertainment. I think that was the goal here, and in my opinion it was a mission accomplished.
The story ends on a cliffhanger, and I will most definitely pick up the sequel. This debut novel is a great first effort, and this new author deserves our support. Please give the book a try, and I’m sure you won’t regret it.
Reviewed By: Jeff