By Debbie Dee
Released: September 12, 2012
Publisher: Dolce Books
Paperback, 246 pages
For generations the Incenaga Witches have been forced to use their power to fulfill the wishes of others until they are drained of their magic and left to die. Desperate to protect his infant daughter - the last surviving witch - Emmeline’s father escapes with her to the forests where he vows to keep her hidden from the world and from the truth.
Sixteen years later, Emmeline is discovered and finds herself in the grip of a traitor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means abusing her power until she dies. As she fights to regain her freedom she is faced with a choice between a prince who offers a lifetime of security and a common gamekeeper who has no idea of her power, but offers his heart.
But who can she trust when her power can be used against her? --Goodreads
Basically, if you are a high fantasy that is well built in world building and can hold a reader's interest until the end, you get my positive ratings. High fantasies are the genre that I adore so much because it's almost impossible to find one that cannot execute itself properly. Writing one of these books is hard work, and since almost all authors put their best efforts into developing the realms of magic and royalty, it's nearly impossible for them to be bland.
The Last Witch picks immediately a few pages in where Emmeline finds herself running away from a force that severely injures her father. Unlike most high fantasies that slowly build up to an epic confrontation, this book takes a huge risk with this unconventional plotting. It wasn't necessarily bad, but definitely could have been a smoother ride in. Fortunately, things smooth over from here as Emmeline, essentially a prisoner within the castle, yearns for her freedom and falls into a love triangle.
Hearing the word 'love triangle' is bound to elicit some groans. It's totally understandable when this plot device is used so frequently and blandly that the best compromise would be for everyone to die. It is how Romeo and Juliet solved its problem, and frankly, I don't blame Shakespeare. The whole romance between Emmeline, Erick, and Prince Weldon was nothing too serious or focal in the story, thankfully. It definitely was not one of the strong points of the novel, but managed to capture the bittersweet feelings of loving someone that you cannot have.
The explanations for the mechanisms of the magic of Incenaga witches was a plot device that was exhilarating and irritating at the same time. While at many points I loved how the antagonist attempted to control Emmeline using the power of her heritage, it became infuriating when the very same girl who was so resilient and fierce toward her captor was ridiculously weak when it came to people attacking her. Her excuse for the reason why she was helpless actually made sense, but was still aggravating when she fell into the role of a damsel in distress. It was as if the very source of her power was a hindrance to her becoming a strong heroine that most high fantasies feature.
Although nothing special or revolutionary in the genre of high fantasies, The Last Witch is a short, sweet story of a girl finding her soul mate within the walls of her prison. The plot is easily predictable and will not rock a person's socks off. Unfortunately, there are traces of noble idiocy (the main character sacrificing themselves to save or protect whoever they love), and they happen many times throughout this book. Despite this all, The Last Witch is a read that you will not stop once you have started and will make you cheer with its ending.