Book Reviews, Four Stars

#BookReview – Fate’s Hand by Melissa Macfie


“She came to Salem to start a new life, but the gods have other plans.

The Coven, a group of Druid leaders initially tasked with protecting the balance, has been polluted by greed. Their leader, Cormac McBrehon covertly plans to steal the abilities of the next high priestess if only he could find her.

Alex Sinclair is weary after 600 years of searching for a legend, for that is who she must be. Having nothing but a vague reference from ancient prophecy and the cruel insistence of the gods, he has combed the centuries for her. Racing, with life or death hanging in the balance, he must find her first.

Brenawyn McAllister has come back to the fabled city of witches to the only family she has left: her grandmother. From the onset of her move, she is accosted and pursued, identified through obscure visions as a potential, though she knows nothing of magic. A devote Catholic, Brenawyn questions her faith when too many events, irreconcilable with her own beliefs, refuse to be ignored.

Can Alex convince Brenawyn that she is the woman for whom he has been searching? Can he teach her to use her powers in time to defend against the Coven?”

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Four Stars!

Who’s driving this thing?

Brenawyn McAllister – love the name – a high priestess in a magical world she knows nothing about. After her hard-line father removes Brenawyn and her mother from the town of Salem and their magical, religious roots, she grows up believing the world is a perfectly normal place.

Three years after her husband dies in a car crash and Brenawyn feels the urge to relocate back to Salem with her beloved dog Spencer to live with her grandmother.

Brenawyn comes across as very bereaved but doing her best to power through. Having lost both parents and her husband, she still manages to keep her wits about her and fight her own battles, whether she stands a chance or not. She is definitely no wallowing widow, although her pain and sorrow makes us want to give her a hug right off the bat.

The only weird thing about this protagonist is that while her old friends and life are referenced, we learn nothing about them. After moving to Salem, she doesn’t contact anyone from her immediate past or think back on her life at all.


What’s this all about?

While Brenawyn makes her move to Salem, a coven with bad intentions are on the brink of finding her – the high priestess. After attacking her on her way to her grandmother’s house, Brenawyn begins to doubt her sanity as magic is performed before her eyes.

Upon arrival, she meets Alex, a mysterious lecturer at the local University who specialises in magic and the occult. His area of work intrigues Brenawyn, but not nearly as much as the man himself.

As Brenawyn becomes more involved in her grandmother’s magical community, neighbours start showing up as victims of ritual sacrifice. When Brenawyn and poor Spencer are the victims of a brutal attack, her powers come to fruition.

Unexpectedly embroiled in a ritual which results in Brenawyn becoming possessed by Aine, a goddess, the fire of passion is awakened between her and Alex.

By the time the coven tracks them down, Brenawyn and Alex are backed into a corner that could mean the death of them both, and that only magic can hope to rescue them from.

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What’s so great about it?

So many things! But here are a few:

The characters are solid, likable (or dis-likable) and the relationships between them are particularly commendable. Even minor characters like Maggie are easy to warm up to. The dialogue and exchanges are great, plus the relationship between Spencer and Brenawyn is so unique and truly heart-warming.

The story is super entertaining. Magic is always a winner but the world created for Fate’s Hand has intricate qualities that show off a well thought out magical system which includes Gods. Goddesses and other realms. The whole world and magical system felt so vivid and natural that immersion is guaranteed.


What could be better?

Only one big sticking point brought this book down from a five star to a four: the integration of Scottish accents into the dialogue. I might be a bit biased because I’m not a big fan of this anyway, but I’ve never seen it done well and unfortunately, that include Fate’s Hand.

The Scottish pronunciations are spelled out in the dialogue and not only do some of them appear to be incorrect but it really messes with the flow. Having to go back and re-read the dialogue of certain characters was pretty frustrating and especially so because it was unnecessary to structure the dialogue this way.


Should I get it?

Yes! Please do, this is a great book, especially for urban fantasy fans and fans of Celtic fiction.

Fate’s Hand is available on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats and they’re pretty good value.

Thanks for reading this review! Drop me a comment below to talk more urban fantasy fiction!

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