Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review: High Witch by Mona Hanna

I just finished reading this novella a moment ago as I write this and I am still feeling positively shaky.

About the Author:

Mona Hanna is the author of the books "The Nature of God" and "God's Promises of Love." She has been a devotional writer since 2008, creating the blog Mona Hanna Devotions, focusing on expressing God's love, acceptance, and compassion. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Australia, with a sub major in professional writing. Mona is now writing fantasy books. "Myriad" is her first novella. - Taken from her Goodreads page.

High Witch
(High Witch #1)
by Mona Hanna
Self-published, 2012
96 pages

When I found this novella on Goodreads it was listed under "paranormal", which is something that usually will make sure I never touch the book. Yet this is in its essence just a high fantasy novella with a heavy focus on the romance between the two main characters.

It can safely be said that this was a read that kept growing on me: I started out thinking this would be a two star read at best, then somehow along the way it convinced me that it was actually interesting enough to deserve three stars. By the time I reached the climax I knew I could give it no less than four stars just because of the way it affected me.

I will start off by confessing that I am a hopelessly unromantic sort of person, so please take some of my opinions on this point a bit lightly. This story sure does contain its share of romantic twaddle!

The characters both seem too perfect and shallow to me. We only see them in their present situations, we don't really get inside them, there seems to be no real depth to their characters. Both of them seem somehow inhumanly infallible, which annoyed me quite a bit; I couldn't feel a connection with any of them.

While I realise that the romance is the central element to this story, I do think it could have been done a little more subtly with great success. The relation between these two people is way too perfect in a sort of sickening way. 

A small point is that Mona Hanna has an irritating habit of using the phrase "he lay over her". Please don't do that if you want me to take it seriously. You might say "he lay over her in the bunk bed" but do say "he lay on top of her" when you are talking about sex. Maybe this is just me. But "lying over something" gives me a lot of different connotations none of which has anything to do with sex...

Anyway, on another level I did find this to be a really intriguing story. The one thing that really took me by surprise was how the story evolved toward the end. Nothing at all about the first 10-11 chapters prepared for the horror I was destined to meet in chapter 13 (second last chapter).

Now, the one thing I have never been able to stomach in horror movies is the electrical saws. It is not so much the blood or the pain or even the chance you might die. It is the sound of it, the look of it as it cuts through flesh and bone, leaving its victim beaten and crippled. Chapter 13 was just like that. To create the right image to make this kind of impact on me just by the use of some words on a piece of paper is pretty impressive.

The story contains an epilogue too. I read it but I will not comment on it other than to say she could as well have spared herself the trouble. It is pretty unnecessary.


  1. I am intrigued as to why you would not touch paranormal. Still it sounds like a very good book.

    1. Well, I thought it would be kind of obvious, but then I guess you are not inside my head like I am (I certainly should hope not!)

      1. Paranormal is a sub-genre of romance. And as I said I am not big on the whole romantic twaddle thing.

      2. They have a tendency of dealing a lot with vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, stuff like that. Especially these days due to recent trends (which I am not a fan of).

      3. They are also often set in an urban setting. I don't hate that exactly, but I don't really care for it either (there is a reason this is not just a plain fantasy blog, but strictly dedicated to the more mediaval-natured high fantasy sub-genre)

      The large majority of stuff within this genre just does not hold much of interest for me. So, I have not really bothered with it.

      Of course I do have to admit that this find has proved to me that the genre does contain some few select things that I can enjoy.

      Okay, this got quite long... I hope I explained it properly :)