Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Book Review: 'Black Annis: Dark Magic Box (Dark Fantasy Box Set Book 1)' by Aubrey Law

Black Annis by Aubrey Law
‘Purebloods: Those who were born a vampire and not simply turned by a bite.’

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 pen 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. In this generous box she offers Black Annis: Demon Hunter, Black Annis 2: Demon Slayer and Black Annis 3: Demon Destroyer.

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 sets the new series with a fine little Prologue - ‘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.

But in Book 1 to take this a step further Aubrey offers an incident from England 1616 – ‘"Please spare my life! I have a son and a daughter! You are killing an innocent woman!" I passionately lied and pleaded with them to release me but I knew they would not. The priests had finally caught me and now my flesh body with all its pleasures was about to be destroyed. Time spent in the darkness of the dead's realm surely had its rewards but nothing was sweeter to me than the joys of lust and butchery experienced as a blood and bone human. Soon I would depart from this world but one day I would return and have my revenge. Just do it. Snap my neck and get this over with. The rope was snug under my chin and my death was sure to be quick. My spinal cord would sever and I would feel no pain. My executioners could have roasted me alive and for showing me this mercy I vowed not to completely wipe out their family bloodlines. "Annis of the Dane Hills, you have been found guilty of murder, Witchcraft, and forsaking the Holy Faith. You have given yourself over to Black Magic, and by its incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions, caused the ruin or death of many good people. Do you have any last words?" said the bald and black-robed judge. "You infectious Hell-hated boar-pigs!" I hissed. "A pox upon you!" Enter the present – Los Angeles 2017 – and the actual storyline is as follows – ‘I am Annis. Resurrected Black Witch. Demon Hunter. Vampire Hater. Daughter of the Witch Queen Amelia. The legendary and dreadful witch Black Annis resurfaces after she was brutally executed and snatches the body of an unsuspecting young woman in modern Los Angeles. Annis must adapt to the new world after four hundred years of torment in the Lake of Fire and her hatred of the Priesthood and their demon allies is eternal. The hunt for her enemies has begun but the woman's body she selfishly possessed will change Annis in ways she never imagined possible. Can a Black Witch's cold dead heart ever know love?’

And that is the format for each of the three books in this set – each guaranteed to surprise and frighten and entertain. This reader read each of the books individually – and now the adventure can be prolonged more comfortably

Aubrey Law steps solidly into the court of dark fantasy with the usual humor we all have grown to love. These are strong, if short, novels and a fine 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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