Review: Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

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Publisher:Portable Magic Ltd.
Publishing Date: January 2014
ISBN: 9781909965096
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Publisher Description: Gabriel Blackstone is a cool, hip, thoroughly twenty-first century Londoner with an unusual talent. A computer hacker by trade, he is also a remote viewer: able to ‘slam a ride’ through the minds of others. But he uses his gift only reluctantly — until he is asked to find a young man last seen months earlier at Monk House, in the company of two mysterious women. Gabriel becomes increasingly bewitched by the house, and by its owners, the beautiful Monk sisters. But even as he falls in love, he suspects that one of them is a killer.

Review: I like the first cover, although the second one is not bad…just ho-hum in a romantic cover art sort of way.

Reviewers were either ambivalent or liked this novel. One reviewer had some great insight into the overall tenure of the novel. She said it is a book of happenstance. That is a great descriptor. It is akin to adding spice to daily life. Its not really a dull novel by any stretch, yet there is quite a bit of content that just fails to rivet. The only real mystery (and only to Gabriel) is who loves him, and who the killer is. Not really a mystery at all, just a fair amount of in-depth dialogue about Gabriel’s relationship and desire for two extremely hot witches.

Gabriel’s old flame Frankie (lets call her Tramp) has manipulated Gabriel into finding out where her stepson has gone, as her super rich husband is dying and needs reconciliation. Everyone suspects the witches for killing the stepson as they were the last ones to see and interact with him. Tramp starts to “Wonder” what might have happened if they had stayed together, while her husband is busy croaking in the room next door. Pretty shameless. Of course they end up together, but is only discussed as a side note at the end.

Some of the elements that I liked were Gabriel and Isidore’s vocation of stealing/hacking corporate secrets. I thought the author could have built the novel more around that relationship and a job gone awry. The writing flows really well and is exceptional in that regard. I can see why people might like the novel based on the writers technical ability. I can also see why others were not enamored as the creative portions were not very interesting unless you’re into self-realization, alchemy and what not. The novel resides in the torment of the mind through the Remote Viewing process. So as we skip around in the present having a fairly good time, we are then transported into someone else’ process towards enlightenment. Still not sure why the sisters needed Gabriel as someone to “play with”. Ultimately it doesn’t make any sense if he becomes an all powerful being. As an inverted process, you would think the sisters would continue to develop and refine the “rooms” on their way to discovering the hand of God, by themselves. Not a real believable story-line. The story line is often counter intuitive as well. Most of the Alchemy and the verses quoted instill a sense of mind/ego that must be developed in order to realize “God” and that memory is divine. Then in other passages the referents are about going through life “aware and awake” and in the moment.

Despite the failed message within the context of the story-line (which I think embodies the mishmash of collective ideas from a variety of sources) this was somewhat enjoyable. There wasn’t anything put forth that was revelatory or enlightening. It felt as though it was thrown out there in hopes of building a story-line cemented around Remote Viewing. I thought the remote viewing portion was inventive yet the ideas and pathways to enlightenment could have been re-invented or had a creative twist. One minor distraction is the authors bio. In this case (which is exactly like a few others) the author lets you know that she kick boxes and is still looking for the perfect crescent kick and teaches afghan women to box yada yada. Self-deprecating the author is not.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

  1. Hold on! This author teaches Afghan women how to box? Doesn’t that get kind of messy with the burqa thing and all? And who on earth do they box against? Kinda hard to imagine an Afghani War Lord taking swipes from a woman dressed in a cocoon. Sounds like that info would make a better book than the author got with the witches. But I digress: well done review. I’m reading this book now (after I plow through a ghastly book of short stories), and based on what you’ve written, I can’t wait to get further into this one.

    • Her bio had a real liberal bent. “Look at me saving the world!”

      • UGH! There’s that nasty “L” word again. Can’t live with ’em and, well, can’t live with ’em. Can’t you just imagine Alan Thicke at the next Miss America pageant asking the contestant what her goal in life is, and she says,”to end Global Hunger and to teach Afghani women how to box.” Okay, I’ll stop now. Gotta figure out what to do about a bad case of the giggles.

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