Hello, everyone! Today I’m sharing my review of The Witch Hunt by Sasha Peyton Smith, the sequel to last year’s The Witch Haven.
The lush and pulse-pounding sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Witch Haven follows Frances and her fellow witches to the streets of Paris where family secrets, lost loves, and dangerous magic await.
Months after the devastating battle between the Sons of St. Druon and the witches of Haxahaven, Frances has built a quiet, safe life for herself, teaching young witches and tending the garden within the walls of Haxahaven Academy. But one thing nags; her magic has begun to act strangely. When an opportunity to visit Paris arises, Frances jumps at the chance to go, longing for adventure and seeking answers about her own power.
Once she and her classmates Maxine and Lena reach the vibrant streets of France, Frances learns that the spell she used to speak to her dead brother has had terrible consequences—the veil between the living and the dead has been torn by her recklessness, and a group of magicians are using the rift for their own gain at a horrifying cost.
To right this wrong, and save lives and her own magical powers, Frances must hunt down answers in the parlors of Parisian secret societies, the halls of the Louvre, and the tunnels of the catacombs. Her only choice is to team up with the person she swore she’d never trust again, risking further betrayal and her own life in the process.
While I didn’t love the first book in this series, the end of it set up the potential for a great sequel. Unfortunately, most of that potential was squandered for a story that was largely more of the same. Frances learned important lessons at the end of the first book about being less foolhardy and selfish, as well as the necessity of being wary about those you trust and the power of sisterhood. At the start of this story, all that growth seemed to be out the window. For the first third of the book, she was back to lying, sneaking, and disregarding the consequences of her actions on her friends. I honestly think the beginning would have been better if it had skipped the journey to Europe and just started with Frances and her friends in Paris. The mystery could have started immediately without needing to devolve her character in an effort to make the journey interesting. I enjoyed the plot of this book once it got going, but it was similar to the first book in a lot of ways. There were still competing secret societies of magic users and the need to find an object to work/reverse death magic. However, the setting made it feel fresh, as did the focus on Frances’s growth and her struggle with PTSD and guilt over the fallout of her previous actions. I actually came close to liking Frances at certain points in the novel, which was an accomplishment given how much I loathed her in book one. Finn’s re-introduction increased the focus on the love triangle, which was even more prominent in this book than the first one since Oliver played a main role in this story as well. Oliver was sweet but kind of flat, and honestly, I wanted Frances to end up with Finn more, even though he had betrayed her and murdered her brother. Frances and Finn were both selfish disasters, with Frances being less so in certain parts of this book, and I don’t think she deserved someone as good as Oliver. After the rough start, I was mostly enjoying the book up until the end. I HATED the ending. Frances was back to being selfish and lying to Oliver. Finn was wasted with little explanation as to why. It was just quite unsatisfying, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for poor Oliver. Overall, this book was once again a middle of the road story for me, just like its predecessor. It was okay, but the potential for it to be great was really squandered. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.