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The Collector Witch: Heart of the Staff (Volume 2) Paperback – August 5, 2012
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Princess Rose and her younger brother, Prince Lukas set off on a quest to find out if a rumor was true. Was Rose really the daughter of an evil witch that lives in the enchanted Chokewood Forest? Their quest takes them through a myriad of magical locales vividly described by the author. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 8, when Rose and Lukas enter the Chokewood Forest:
"Under the tall trees, the woods seemed like a giant musty cathedral of the damned. Faint currents of air moved about like resigned sighs, as unidentifiable sounds echoed in the distance, like somber utterances down the far corridors of a catacomb. Rose shuddered as she studied the limbless tortured-looking trunks of the trees surrounding them, trees which looked as if they were in endless agony, aware of their own twisted and grotesque poses."
Phipps strongest skill is in her ability to create magic characters and give them personalities that are believable and truly enjoyable. Among the best examples are Hubba Hubba a crow, Sparks a dragon, and Fuzz a bear. They bring magic to so many enjoyable scenes that I will not spoil it for the reader by mentioning them. I was impressed by the author's ability to introduce such a variety of characters and settings and interweave them into an entertaining fantasy that is boundless in imagination. Even the collector witch, who is damned from birth with the name Ugleeuh, has a personality that is real enough to make you pity her, at least until you are reminded that she is a terrible force to be reckoned with. As her dear crow and long-time companion, Hubba Hubba is reminded and warned: "Now dearest, for the absolute last time, do you plan to be my messenger or my meal?"
A story that should have strong appeal to young adults and many older ones like myself, THE COLLECTOR WITCH is a sweet treat that takes some of the best elements of "Hansel and Gretel" and creates an imaginative story that will make the reader want to read more of the books in the HEART OF THE STAFF series.