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Linda Winstead Jones: The Moon Witch

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley (Paperback), ISBN 0425201295

Book: linda winstead, the moon witch
In The Moon Witch, Linda Winstead Jones brings us the middle book in her trilogy of the Fyne sisters, three witches struggling to break a curse that denies them true love. Unfortunately, this book reads like the middle book of a trilogy.

When a mysterious wild man, a shape-shifter, kidnaps Juliet, the mousy, timid middle sister…

Wait. I don't want to write about Juliet. Her story unfolds predictably (introduced to great sex by Ryn, her shape-shifter, she confronts her fear of men and uncovers magical abilities beyond her belief). Besides, I'm still miffed that Jones gives Juliet to a wild man, even if he turns out okay.

I want to write about Liane and Sebestyen. We first meet Sebestyen, the tyrant Emperor of Columbyana, in the opening book of the trilogy. Then Liane served him as slave, courtesan, and assassin. Now Liane sits as Empress. She carries his heir and anticipates marital bliss. Imagine her shock and dismay when Sebestyen declares that he finds pregnant women disgusting and turns to take comfort in his well- stocked harem (although, since Sebestyen proved himself a heartless bastard time and time again, this could not have been much of a surprise). Yet Liane, unlike Juliet, is cunning and bold. In a subplot much more interesting than the main narrative, we watch Sebestyen and Liane reinvent themselves not as master and slave but as Emperor and Empress. Along the way, Jones carefully manipulates our emotions so we feel first hatred then confusion and finally pity for Sebestyen.

One book remains in the trilogy, and above all else I want to know what happens to Liane and Sebestyen. Yes, they kill and hurt and scheme. They fail as enlightened rulers. But they do so as unpredictable and flawed -- in other words, interesting -- characters. As the conclusion to the trilogy draws near, the focus shifts from the Fyne sisters to the Emperor and the fate of Columbyana. Will the rebels, including the youngest Fyne sister, overthrow Sebestyen? How far will Liane go to protect her child and Sebestyen? Can the eldest sister prove to be a more interesting heroine? I wait for the next book to learn the answers. Those of you wishing to join this trilogy might choose to do the same.

Kathryn Yelinek

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