Audiobook review: The Witch Collector by Charissa Weaks
Set in a fantasy world divided by kingdoms and run by magic wielders, The Witch Collector follows twenty-four year old Raina Bloodgood, a mute village girl who hides her magical talents. She hates the Frost King and his Witch Collector who comes once a year to conscript the best and brightest for the King’s protection. Her older sister, Nephele, was taken eight years ago, and Raina hasn’t heard from her since.
Determined to kidnap the Witch Collector and find a way to save her sister, Raina’s plans are shoved aside when a band of Eastlanders destroy her village, killing all but Raina and Alexus Thibault, the Witch Collector. Soon Raina learns that the greater world isn’t as she thought and that she may need to work with Alexus to save herself, her sister, and what’s left of their kingdom.
After only a few chapters, I found myself completely engrossed in The Witch Collector. The author sets up the world and magic quickly, while the reader is tossed in. I was able to pick up things quickly, while learning new things throughout the story. The mythology different yet familiar in a good vs evil manner. Raina is on the precipice of her destiny which changes dramatically over the course of days as she uncovers the true villains in her world. I love being along side Raina as she discovers who she is and what she is capable of achieving. She is fierce and determined but flexible. She loves with her whole heart despite losing so much.
The budding romance between Alexus and Raina is beautiful. With a forced proximity trope as they travel alone together, they get to know one another. I appreciate that Raina is open to Alexus despite her years of anger towards the man. It helps that the pair is drawn to one another right from the start, and there are hints that he’s had a thing for her for a while. The author doesn’t force the relationship, but rather lets it evolve over time.
Narration: The story is shared via the first person, present tense POVs of Raina and Alexus (with a minor part late in the book from one other character’s POV). Overall, both Sylvan and Campbell do a terrific job with their respective parts. Both successfully alter their dialogue based on gender and age, with some additional tweaks for the supernatural. Sylvan’s portrayal of Raina is a touch on the younger side, age-appropriate and well-suited. She successfully adds emotion like frustration, anger, and joy. Campbell’s voice is deep but not overly so, and with his accent and annunciation, he sounds refined. This is a great match for the older Alexus. Both do well with the other gender’s voices. Additionally, I love how the narrators portray Raina’s sign language, slowing down each word, annunciating each syllable. Overall, I was impressed with both narrators and their pairing.
The Witch Collector is but the beginning of the journey for Raina and Alexus. Although this audiobook was recently released, I am ecstatic that Weaks has already published two additional books in print. The Witch Collector has a very satisfying ending; a great place to pause until the next phase of their adventure begins. And I’m desperate to continue… to find out what happens to the group next.
About the Book:
Every harvest moon, the Witch Collector rides into our valley and leads one of us to the home of the immortal Frost King, to remain forever.
Today is that day—Collecting Day.
But he will not come for me. I, Raina Bloodgood, have lived in this village for twenty-four years, and for all that time he has passed me by.
Raina Bloodgood has one desire: kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister. On Collecting Day, she means to exact murderous revenge, but a more sinister threat sets fire to her world. Rising from the ashes is the Collector, Alexus Thibault, the man she vowed to slay and the only person who can help save her sister.
Thrust into an age-old story of ice, fire, and ancient gods, Raina must abandon vengeance and aid the Witch Collector or let their empire—and her sister—fall into enemy hands. But the lines between good and evil blur, and Raina has more to lose than she imagined. What is she to do when the Witch Collector is no longer the villain who stole her sister, but the hero who’s stealing her heart?
Author: Charissa Weaks
Narrators: Meg Sylvan, Tim Campbell
Series: Witch Walker #1
Genre: Fantasy, romantic elements
Audiobook Release Date: July 11, 2023
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Length: 13 hrs; 16 mins
Audio Speed: 1.4x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)