Friday, September 7, 2018

Book Review: 'Black Annis 3: Demon Destroyer (Revenge of the Witch, #3)' by Aubrey Law

‘Had I been cursed by dark magic or bitten by some evil creature?’

Los Angeles author Aubrey Law is best known for her collection of stories – The Pumpkintown Perils –for the adult reader despite the witch’s stories and fol de rol that have a hefty dose of fantasy, imagination, some clever mystery solving, and a bit of naughty. Now she steps away from the pure entertainment aspect to continue her initial ‘serious sci-fi dark fantasy novel’. It is a pleasure to report that she succeeds as handsomely in this new series as she captured imagination and hearts with her humorous Pumpkintown ladies.

Aubrey knows how to mix historic fiction/fantasy with contemporary consequences – and that is a trick that usually takes practice in time travel and mythology writing. She set the new series with a Prologue that bears repeating as a gate for Book 3 - ‘There was a time when Black Witches ruled the night and their eternal Vampire enemies kept themselves hidden or suffered certain death. The Werewolves also feared the wrath of a Witch's Black Magic and not even the fullest moon would bring the monsters out of hiding. In those ancient and terrible days the immortal Witch Queen Amelia was the most dreaded woman alive. She married herself to a foreign prince to acquire a glorious castle and together they had a single child. Annis was her given name and she was not born immortal like Amelia. The Witch Queen's only daughter inherited her mother's dark soul but she remained a mortal human like her father. Annis was a shameful disappointment to Amelia and the lone daughter was harshly disowned by her heartless mother. The Witch Queen desired an immortal child but she was never able to become pregnant again. In her rage Amelia eventually killed her husband and she disappeared into the shadows. Annis was consumed with hatred for her mother and gave herself completely over to the powerful darkness of Black Magic. She will never be a true immortal but Black Annis can still walk the world forever by using her rare gift of Possession to snatch a new body away from anyone she desires.’ So we know the powers of our main character Annis.

Once again Aubrey captures our attention with her opening chapter: ‘"Annis," whispered Skye. The heat of her cinnamon flavored and liquor tainted breath warmed my neck. "Cain said some things about you. Things I can't seem to forget. A story about you stealing a woman's body? And being two thousand years old?" I softly laughed but secretly worried that Skye would learn the truth and she'd hate me for it. "And you believed him?" Skye shook her head of silky raven hair. "Of course not. But I know Black Witches are capable of...bad things." "And if I really was two thousand years old?" "Oh I wouldn't care about that part," she said. "As long as you still looked this good." Her fierce amber eyes glowed in the darkness like fireflies as she intimately studied my naked flesh. "But the other part would be a problem?" "Possessing someone's body? Is that even possible?" I slowly nodded. "'s possible." Skye raised an eyebrow. "And what happens to the person that gets possessed?" "They die." I quietly sighed. "I can't see you ever killing an innocent person," she said. "Would you?" My mind carefully and painfully processed Skye's question. If I said yes then our friendship could be ruined or worse. If I said no then I'd be a liar. But she'd asked if I would, not if I did. "No. That's not who I am." My answer was still truthful. My heart wasn't the same today as it was when I'd stolen Ashley's body. Skye smiled. "That's good because then you'd be a monster. And I'd have to kill you."

Off and running in this rather short novel, well distilled in the outline – ‘. Allied with the werebear Skye, Black Annis continues her quest for revenge and her mission to destroy all demons within the city of Los Angeles and beyond. Skye had mentioned the 'rush' of shedding blood and her own addiction to its intoxicating effect. I knew all about the thrill of battle far more than she could ever imagine. Just as two lovers experienced each other's naked flesh, I intimately knew the excitement of adrenaline surging through my veins when fighting to the death. This was a true obsession and once victory in battle was tasted the desire for more never really faded away. Especially when extinguishing the life of a hated enemy, the rewarding rush was orgasmic and still, in my expert opinion, better than sex. Even spending a long sleepless night in bed with one of the Nephilim, the unique half-human and half-angel species, with their unmatched skills in providing pleasure, didn't feel as good to me as whenever I destroyed a demon. There was no greater ecstasy or better euphoria than slaying the monsters of Hell that had tormented my imprisoned soul for what seemed like an eternity.

Aubrey Law steps solidly into the court of dark fantasy with the usual humor we all have grown to love. This is a strong novel and a fine continuation of a fascinating series. 

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. 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.

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