DJ Butler’s (Q and A) second installment in the Witchy Eye Series, Witchy Winter has protagonist Sarah Calhoun continuing her journey where she left off from the end of the first installment in the series, Witchy Eye. If you have not read Witchy Eye, I suggest you don’t read any further. There aren’t spoilers for Witchy Winter in this review. By default, there will be spoilers for Witchy Eye.
Last Chance to look away if you haven’t read Witchy Eye!
Sarah Penn (originally Calhoun- adopted daughter of Elector Calhoun), having been sought out and told her true heritage from a firstborn priest, is now travelling the Mississippi to take her place on her father’s throne. The Serpent Throne is located in the Cahokian Lands and Sarah is aiming for it despite those who would stop, with the support of those she trusts most.
Butler takes multiple story lines and points of view present originally and brings in new ones that serve to open up the story. They come together well with a fresh perspective and deeper perspective of the landscape that moves the story along.
Original villains mix with new ones that look to deny Sarah’s claim to the Serpent Throne, as well learn more about those determined to make sure she makes it north for the Winter Solstice. The push and pull of these dynamics are written in an intriguing way with Sarah stuck in the middle, still with her own internal struggles of when to trust her own intuition.
She continues to learn a great deal more in this installment of the Witchy Eye series than just what she needs to accomplish in her travels. Her world expands not just geographically and in her own livelihood but in family ties. She finds five siblings that are all in danger they know nothing about. Knowing all to well from her own story that they are now in danger, she seeks them out before it is too late.
Building on the alternative history set-up in Witchy Eye, Butler mixes a very non-American empirical rule where politics are utilized as much as magic. There isn’t an area where someone can’t be touched by one or the other, along with rule of nature.
While admittedly complex, there was never a time where I really felt overburdened by the everything going on in Witchy Winter. The multiple points of view gave a true breadth of understanding and insight to the events and settings throughout the book. The pacing never suffered, felt clunky or faltered with the multitude of storylines. They came together in a way that built to a suspenseful climax and ended in a way that left you waiting for the next installment.