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Customer Review

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable high fantasy adventure, March 23, 2012
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This review is from: Witch Hunt (The Gryphonpike Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
"Witch Hunt" is the first story in Annie Bellet's "Gryphonpike Chronicles" fantasy series. The novella's story revolves around an exiled, mute, female elven archer named "Killer" who must perform one thousand good deeds before she can leave the land of mortals and return to divine elven lands. Taking up with a rag-tag adventuring group called the Gryphonpike Companions (Drake - human rogue, Rahiel - pixie-goblin sorceress, her flying miniature pink unicorn mount Bill, Makha - human female warrior and her husband Azyrin - half orc shaman), Killer along with her mist-lynx companion Fade and her trusty bow Thorn, seeks to right the wrongs of her past. As the companions travel to the nearest guild hall to pay their dues they happen across the witch-cursed swamp village of Strongwater Barrow. After speaking to the locals they're tasked by the survivors to hunt down and slay the remaining witches coven in efforts to free the village from its curse. Here are my thoughts on Witch Hunt;

Pros

+ Unique dilemma and specific suffering of the main character. I actually loved this idea. Well done.

+ Simple yet interesting premise.

+ Accomplished writing style.

+ Great combat and action sequences.

+ Excellent environmental descriptions.

+ Minimalistic yet intriguing cover art.

Cons <Contains SPOILERS>

- Some eccentric characters that border on absurd. I'm referring to Rahiel the pixie-goblin (not sure what it is but I just dropped the goblin and assumed she was a pixie) and her flying pink mini unicorn mount Bill. Personally, this was my main reason for the loss of 1 star on the rating as these characters just threw the story a bit for me.

- A few awful and uncreative names, Killer and Bill especially. (Please give Killer a proper name)

- Draws too closely from Dungeons & Dragons at times. Everything from the spells Charm Person, Summon Monsters and Entangle to actually having one of the characters say, "If this is a random encounter, then I will feed my hat to Bill."

- Too short for the cover price.

Action packed and never boring, "Witch Hunt" is your standard high fantasy tale that unfortunately comes with both good and bad elements. The author does a wonderful job at setting the scene and surroundings of our heroes. I could literally feel the desolation and despair of the cursed village and surrounding swamp. The characters are well described each with distinctly defined personalities. Sadly, this is also true of characters I wasn't fond of such as Rahiel or her mini mount Bill. To me, these characters were so out of place they distracted from the seriousness of the story and the plight of the main character. It reminded me of Dungeons & Dragons sessions in my youth when someone created an annoying character that everyone hated, including the Dungeon Master. If you were ever a pen and paper role player then you've most likely had experiences like this. This brings me to my final concern of the story which drew too closely to an actual gaming session at times. The overall premise of the story is entertaining, especially the personal struggles of the main character, Killer. Will I continue reading the series? Absolutely! But I do hope for a few changes.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2012 8:26:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2012 8:29:32 AM PDT
R. Nicholson says:
Hi D.
Funny how we think alike... Even before I got to your Cons I was wonder about the name 'Killer' (would have perfectly fit if she'd been a double amputee...lol, but no.) also the pink unicorn named Bill doesn't exactly conjure up images of a beast with a threatening presence doesn't it?
I find it hard to fathom how sometimes a great story can just dissolve with major shortcomings such as you've mentioned. Just snaps the reader out of that delicious fantasy zone back to the mundane reality of reading a so-so novel. What was the author thinking, did a proof reader or editor not think to question the choosing of character names and appearances?
Sounds like near miss.
Great honest and critcial review.
Ray

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2012 4:28:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 27, 2012 11:37:31 AM PDT
Media Man says:
Hi Ray,
With a few minor changes this series could be a 5 stars for me quite easily. I like the author's writing style and her ability to write action sequences. I especially like the hindrance the main character faces as it makes it difficult for the heroes to always win easily. A few name changes, minor character tweaks and D&D reference rewrites could really smooth this series out. Thanks for the comments and visit!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2015 2:48:27 AM PDT
Bob says:
Sadly, this sounds very much like a purchased review. I dislike when authors inflate their books by buying reviews. Amazon needs to step in.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2015 6:33:15 AM PDT
Media Man says:
Hi Bob,
I have no affiliation with this book or the author. I downloaded it and several others in the series for free when they were on promotion and enjoyed them. I'm a long time D&D fantasy reader and these shorts were right up my alley. Sorry if my review sounds "purchased" to you but I assure you it's not. Thanks for stopping by.
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