Title: Here Be Witches (The Snowdownia Chronicles #2)
Author: Sarah Mussi
Publisher: Shrine Bell
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Description: All Ellie Morgan wants is to be with her one true love, Henry.
But she’s caught in the middle of a BATTLE as old as SNOWDON itself. A battle between GOOD and EVIL.
A WITCHES’ SPELL, cast high on the mountain, has sped up time and made matters MUCH WORSE. The dragons are awake; mythical creatures and evil ghosts have risen. And nearly all of them want Ellie DEAD.
Thank heavens for loyal friend George,
disloyal bestie Rhi, and mysterious stranger, Davey. Armed with Granny Jones’s potions, Ellie and her companions must set out on a journey to REVERSE THE SPELL, stop the EVIL White Dragon and find Henry.
As an eternal winter tightens its grip on Snowdon, Ellie and her friends have just THREE DAYS to SURVIVE and complete their quest.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this book at first, but I did get into the story and by the end I not only enjoyed it but felt a little emotional as well. ‘Here Be Witches’ is the second book in ‘The Snowdonia Chronicles’ trilogy with ‘Here Be Dragons’ being the first. I haven’t read the first book yet and although this does work as a stand alone novel I would have liked to have read the first book in the series before this one as I feel there have been some big spoilers revealed from the first book.
The story begins with an eerie prologue, which actually made me interested in reading this book, with a spell being cast by witches on the eve of St. David’s Day before moving on to the main plot, told from the point of view of Ellie. Although it was easy to read the book, I wasn’t sure if I’d get into it at first with all the teen-speak going on. Phrases like ‘obvs’ instead of obviously and text with lines through it did put me off at first, but this was probably due to the fact that I didn’t really know Ellie’s character at first and after reading the first few chapters it stopped bothering me and I even grew to enjoy some of the teen-speak, especially the occasional emoji happy or sad faces.
It took me about a third of the way into the book before I really started to enjoy it more though. The story is easy to understand and probably even easier to get into if you’ve read the first book, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it as there were some funny but silly moments and I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn into a big fantasy tale which I had expected. As Ellie and her friends start the journey to fix the spell that’s been cast, they end up facing lots of evil things though, I don’t want to spoil the plot but it’s when the lambs are mentioned it became a more serious and gripping story.
The characters all go on a sort of epic journey and what made this book more exciting for me was that there’s a lot of reference to Welsh folklore. Occasionally there was a number reference with extra notes at the bottom of a page explaining what certain characters or places were and the folklore surrounding them (if it wasn’t explained in the story text). This reference to real folklore just makes this story all the more interesting for me.
The ending was good and satisfying but also an emotional one which left me with mixed emotions as it’s both happy and sad. It feels like a complete story but I’m also left desperate to know what happens in the final book. Despite what I know must be spoilers of book one, it’s also made me want to read the first book as I can’t help but want to see how Henry and Ellie met and their story before this book. There is nothing offensive in ‘Here Be Witches’ although there are a few mentions of death and blood, nothing extreme or too gruesome. There is also a map at the start of the book and a few quotes from very old texts and manuscripts.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good teen fantasy story. Ellie’s character might put off some older readers with her teenish way of speaking and her sometimes naïve attitude but at the same time it’s such a compelling read when the journey for the friends starts that I’d still recommend anyone interested to try it. But I’d also say that if you’re serious about following the trilogy without spoilers then read the first book before this one. Overall a good read and much better when you get into it.
-Review first appeared online January 2018 – now republished here.
Have you read books in this series yet? What about books that include Welsh folklore or folklore in general? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂