It’s never too late to try to fix a past mistake.
Mary’s personality was quite well developed. She was an intelligent, cunning, and stubborn woman who definitely had her fair share of flaws. There were times when she made decisions that made me shake my head, but there was always something about her that kept me coming back for more. Her personality was so complex that she felt like a real person to me. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish in a short story, so Mr. Taylor should be commended for pulling it off.
Unfortunately, there were many loose plot ends left dangling after the final scene. While I understand that this is the first story in a series and that the author wanted to leave room to explore the conflicts again in the future, it was unsatisfactory for me as a reader to finish the last paragraph without feeling a sense of closure about the majority of the issues that Mary faced during the course of this tale. It would have been nice to see her accomplish more of her goals before she tried to move onto her next adventure.
The world building was handled beautifully, though. The narrator quickly introduced the complicated and sometimes dangerous society that witches had developed and then left it up to the audience to fill in the blanks as the plot moved forward. There was a lot of ground to cover in order to fully develop the settings and that culture. I was always comfortable with how much I was learning about Mary’s world, though, and I walked away from it feeling as if I’d really been there with her.
Witches: Tea Party should be read by anyone who would like to lose themselves in another time and place.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.