4 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this work.
*spoilers for the first and second book*
I have also reviewed the first two in the series.
Warrior Witch is a fabulous conclusion to a compelling series. Just to catch you up again, Cecile was captured and married to a troll in the hope that she would break the curse that keeps them trapped in their kingdom under the mountain. By the end of the second book, we learn that Cecile’s mother is the witch who initially trapped the trolls in the first place, Tristan is free of the troll kingdom but is the only one, and his insane brother Roland wants to take the throne but is being controlled by another evil, crazy troll.
One of the main threads in this series is the moral conflict Cecile has with the possibility of freeing the trolls. Most of them are good beings who just don’t want to live trapped anymore, and there are plenty of half-trolls who could use their freedom to stop being slaves to the full bloods. On the other hand are a few insane trolls who would try to conquer and enslave humanity the minute the curse was broken. Cecile struggles with the fact that she either has to leave many of her friends trapped forever, or possibly doom the human race. This conflict does get resolved in this last book and it is done without sidestepping this dilemma by coming up with a magical solution that takes it away. Cecile chooses and then has to live with the consequences of her actions.
Cecile and Tristan are forced to fight a battle on many fronts, against the Troll King, the troll prince Roland, the witch and the humans, some of whom also have a vested interest in releasing the trolls. The political maneuvering in these books is wonderfully complex and rich. You don’t know until the end all of the endgames and relationships entangled in this series and it is very compelling watching the main characters figure everything out. Some beings are not exactly what you think and it is fun watching it unfold.
Many of Cecile’s troll and human friends are back and the characters and relationships are just as satisfying as they were in the previous two books. Sacrifices are made and not everyone is going to be happy with the results. Both Cecile and Tristan fight to balance their conflicting loyalties and to keep their loved ones safe.
The fact that the characters have to make real sacrifices and that they have to do it with their eyes opens really distinguishes this from other young adult novels. Lots of them have people dying for a cause, but it is usually an accident or side effect, never anyone being deliberately sacrificed. I loved the realism of having that included. War and other conflict should involve hard decisions like that, and having other authors skirt that, but never really address it, seem like a cop out.
This is just as rich and satisfying and complex as the other ones in the series. It finishes on a very strong note and is wonderful throughout. Go and read!