It’s been a long while since I’ve been a part of a blog tour, but being a part of them is one of my favorite parts of being a writer. I love promoting other authors’ work and sharing it with my readers, so when I am offered the chance to do so, I leap at it.
Needless to say, when Savannah Jezowski requested help with her blog tour, I was overjoyed to be asked to take part and to review her stories.
The stories I’m reviewing today come together, as a short and its sequel. And–I’m happy to share with you that both of these are part of a giveaway. So if you’re a fan of Jezowski’s writing, or if you’re looking for a fun afternoon read with a joyful spirit to it, you’re in the right place. (There are links for the giveaway at the bottom of this article, so stay tuned.)
Who wrote The Witching Hour?
Savannah Jezowski lives in Amish country with her Knight in Shining Armor and a wee warrior princess. She is the founder of Dragonpen Designs and Dragonpen Press, which offers author services such as cover design, developmental edits, and interior formatting. Her debut novella “Wither” is featured in Five Enchanted Roses, an anthology of Beauty and the Beast, and is a prequel to TheNeverway Chronicles, a Christian fantasy series filled with tragic heroes and the living dead. She is also the author of When Ravens Fall, a Norse Beauty and the Beast retelling. She is featured in several Fellowship of Fantasy anthologies, including Mythical Doorways, Tales of Ever After, and Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales. When she isn’t writing, Savannah likes to read books, watch BBC miniseries, and play with cover design. She also enjoys having tea with her imaginary friends.
What is The Witching Hour about?
Do you love cats? Do you enjoy frolicking fantasy, sweet romance, good versus evil, and stories with a good redemption angle? If so, you’re sure to fall in love with The Witching Hour, a fantasy with fairy tale themes and lots of giggles.
Part One: As shadows encroach on the city of Lite, one cat stands between humanity and the hounds of darkness. Romeo takes it upon himself to find a suitor for his human Isabel in order to save the city and sets his sights on the unlikeliest of candidates. Can true love really save the day? Read Part One for FREE on Kindle and Most Digital Stores.
Part Two: When Isabel disappears in the middle of the night, matters take a turn for the worst. Romeo finds himself trekking through the dangerous wildlands to rescue the young queen with a clownish wizard, a sassy she-cat, a pretty healer, and a mysterious soldier. However, their only hope may be the very thing Romeo fears most. Can Romeo and his friends save the day before the shadows consume them? Preorder for $.99/Releases March 25! Don’t forget to add the novella to your Goodreads Shelf.
The Witching Hour is a frolicking fantasy adventure with fairy tale themes and clean romance. Perfect for fans of Diana Wynne Jones and Lloyd Alexander.
Rated: PG for thematic elements and mild battle sequences
In short, The Witching Hour is about a cat named Romeo and his counterpart, Lady Pursy. Together, along with the kingdom’s healer and a magician named Cyril, they go searching for a kidnapped princess.
What works in The Witching Hour?
As an avid fan of Lloyd Alexander, when Savannah told me about her stories, I absolutely fell in love. I love the simple nature of her story that’s centered around tightly compact text and a simple but well-woven story.
I don’t read many books told from the point of view of an animal. Generally, I find them to be very mediocre and dull. They often have no voice and the animals in them take on a human persona, which I find distasteful. If you’re going to write about an animal, write like an animal.
This is one thing that I appreciated about The Witching Hour. The animals that were in the story acted and talked and thought and reacted like animals. The cats were written so that I could identify with them, to an extent, but were also written so I could easily sit back and giggle at how cat-like that they were.
Something else, along these lines, that I felt that the author did very well with was creating strong internal dialogue and slang for her characters. Often, when writing animals—or even simply in a fantasy world in general—these things can feel forced. Because of the strong voice and presence of the animal characters written, I felt that the internal dialogue and slang were satisfactory and original.
What could be stronger in The Witching Hour?
There were a handful of things that I would’ve liked to see be strengthened in further installments to the world of The Witching Hour and its characters should the author continue with them.
One of these things is the balance in personality and development between animal characters and human characters. Ironically, in this story, it was some of the human characters that felt flat. Because Romeo and his animal counterparts felt very developed, and because Romeo’s presence as a character was so rich, it made the human characters feel very flat and under-developed.
I would also like to see the author work more strategically on her worldbuilding. There were aspects of the world that often had me asking questions that distracted me from the story. And there were a few times where I felt like—between this installment of the story and its prequel—there were slight contradictions in the world created for me. This made it difficult for me, as a reader, to suspend my disbelief and really dig into the story because I couldn’t understand my basic surroundings.
Like Alexander’s writing, this story is simple and to the point, but I do think that in some places it lacks the well-placed details to build the world that Alexander’s writing has.
I think that the writer has touched on the surface of a possibly very rich and intriguing world, but I hope that in any further installments it is more clearly developed because that is probably the singular thing that continually pulled me out of the story and made it confusing for me to read.
What about The Witching Hour was most memorable for me?
My absolute favorite thing about The Witching Hour was Romeo’s voice and parts of the dialogue. There was such a rich flavor of sass mixed with sincerity that was reminiscent of an actual cat. It really brought the character and the world to life for me.
I appreciated that it was carried through, not just in the prequel, but also in the new release. I’ll show you some examples below. These will be pulled primarily from The Witching Hour, but also from its prequel.
“I sat on the window seat of my human’s personal chambers, trying to soak in the last rays of the evening sun which I believed rose for my benefit over all others. Did that make me conceited? Most definitely, but the superiority of cats could not be argued with. And as far as tomcats went, I happened to be an unusually fine specimen.”
“At least I have you, Romeo,” she said in a sad, quiet way that made even my lofty heart ache for her.
Romeo wasn’t really my name of course, but humans simply didn’t have the vocal capacity for cat speech. They couldn’t growl and hiss properly at all. Which, consequently meant I had been saddled with an awful name like Romeo.
“You’ve been announced,” Gran whispered noisily to the person waiting outside the door.
The chimney sweep, known as Ives, inched into the room, head appearing first and tipping side to side as he scanned the room. He was even more homely than Isabel, a tall, skinny fellow with unruly dark hair and large ears. He paused, staring at Isabel, hair partially covering his eyes. The silence became tangible and tasted of repressed longing.
I rolled my eyes as Ives eased into the room, shoulders hitched as if he were expecting an imminent blow. Loath to disappoint him, I launched out of my hiding place and pounced on his boot as he passed, raking his ankle with my claws. He bellowed and shook me off, but I sank my claws through his trousers and into his leg.
Other than Isabel, Ives was my favorite human.
“I’m looking for my human if you must know.”
She clucked in surprise. “My, my. You’ve lost your human. How embarrassing.”
The fur on the back of my neck bristled. “I haven’t lost anyone. She’s merely misplaced herself.”
“Yes, because humans do that all the time. Misplace themselves.”
What is my overall review of The Witching Hour?
Overall, I would give The Witching Hour a 3.5. It’s a book that you can sit down and read through in a few hours. The voice of the story is genius and playful, but there are some lacking elements in the area of development of the world. However, Romeo is definitely one of my favorite animal narrators. It’s a sparkling and fun read with lots of laughs and a heart-warming lead character.
If you’re interested in seeing more about The Witching Hour, including character interviews, other reviews, guest articles, scene releases, and other such information about the book, check out the following blogs where you’ll be able to find out more:
March 18 – Realm Explorers
March 19 – Book Spotlight by C.O.Bonham
March 21 – Guest Post with Tammy Lash
March 24 – Character Interview on The Discerning Reader
March 25 – RELEASE DAY!!!
March 26 – Book Spotlight with Annie Louise Twitchell
March 27 – Book Spotlight with H.L. Burke
March 28 – Book Review with Meg Dendler
March 29 – Book Review with Selina J. Eckert
If you want to read the prequel short, you can read it free in the collection Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales or as a stand-alone short here. If you want to purchase a copy of The Witching Hour, you can do so here.
If you’re interested in joining in the giveaway, please visit this link and sign up! You can enter to win a free paperback of the complete story, Parts One and Two in one cute paperback. To enter, simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway. Winner will be chosen on March 30th. This giveaway is US ONLY.
~ CS Taylor