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One Witch at a Time: 06/08/17
One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser wasn't what I was expecting given the cover art. Of course, I could have read the blurb but sometimes I'm drawn in by the artwork alone. One Witch at a Time by the cover looks like it'll be a more or less modern day story of rival witches — or maybe a semi-retro one going for a Bewitched feel.
Nope. It's a straight up fantasy deconstruction of a "Jack and Beanstalk" of all things. The book is more akin to the fantasy flashbacks of Once Upon a Time than it is to any other television series involving witches that had crossed my mind.
Rudi is on a quest to return some magic beans sold in her village. The beans are magic because they've been imbued with the magic of the witch in the next realm over.
There is a long standing law of the land that there can only be one witch per realm. The witch serves as protector and possibly leader, depending on how she or he decides to wield power. In Rudi's realm, the witch is of the helpful old lady at the edge of the village variety. The one with the beans, though, has a reputation of being a tyrant and the physical size of a giant.
Magic power takes great responsibility. Misused, magic can and will corrupt. The realm Rudi goes into shows the power of that corruption. Things are distorted. Weather is harsh. Food is scarce.
But I would have preferred to go into this book with different expectations. Rather, I wish the cover art had been more on point, more obviously a fantasy with medieval trappings.