#SPFBO Review : Carrion by Alyson Tait

Posted On 24 August 2021

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Carrion by Alyson Tait is the first book that I picked up from my Third Batch of books that I’m aiming to read and review this month which will then be followed by my update post.  After this batch I will have three books remaining and will post my fourth and final batch of books during the following month.  My reviews so far are linked below and you can find feedback from my first and second batch of books here and here and further information on SPFBO here.

carrion

As the book begins we meet Riley Rook.  Riley is the coven matriarch of the Rooks – basically a long line in witches who protect humanity against evil.  Riley is in the process of observing a young witch who is not part of the coven and trying to decide whether this young woman can be persuaded to join the Rooks rather than facing the alternative, which is to control this youngster by any means necessary before her power runs out of control.  Unfortunately, Riley meets with a dreadful accident which makes the decision a moot point.

Regina Rook is the first daughter of Riley, her sister Renee being slightly younger.  As such she is expected to step up and serve the coven in her mother’s place.  The problem is that Regina has rebelled against the nature of herself and her family and taken to living alone wanting no part of the magic.  Unfortunately all of the family are unaware of the threat that looms.  The young girl that Riley watched is more powerful than they suspected and another person of interest also seeks power.

To be honest I expected to enjoy Carrion much more than I did as stories of witches and covens are basically my catnip and, I must say that this gets off to a very good start with the opening chapter introducing us to Riley.  However, with Riley’s death Regina takes the lead role and for some reason I found her a difficult character to connect with.

So, as mentioned, the Rooks are basically a coven of witches.  They have worked their magic for many many years but unfortunately due to dwindling numbers they are less powerful and more vulnerable than ever as the story begins.  The setting here is contemporary, easy to imagine without much description and we flit primarily between the family home, the morgue and the graveyard as ancient rituals must be observed following the death of a coven member.

The characters.  Well, as I mentioned above the main pov is Regina and unfortunately I did find myself struggling to get on board with her.  Don’t get me wrong, I can understand her rebelling against the family, it’s traditions and the responsibilities that are being put upon her shoulders, but, for me she came across a little unfeeling and somewhat difficult and I couldn’t really get a grasp on why that was the case.  Her mother dies at the start of the story yet I never really got a sense of any emotion from her and this is something that persisted throughout even during times of stress and danger.   The other characters only played a periphery role including Regina’s sister Renee – who I would have liked to spend more time with.  In terms of the antagonist – Sasha is the rogue young witch with the excess of power, again, I didn’t really feel that her motivations came across – apart from one episode where she rails against the coven and the way they fail to use their power – I think I wanted something a little more in depth.

The writing is actually very easy to get along with although there were quite a lot of errors.  I wouldn’t normally raise that as an issue but it did kind of stop me in my tracks quite often and probably contributed to my inability to really connect.

To be fair to the author this is a relatively short story with probably just over 100 pages and so a very quick read. I admit that short stories and novellas often fail to work their magic on me because I feel myself wanting more and I think that’s the case here.  I feel like I came away from this not really understanding the nature of the coven or their magic, having very little understanding of their adversaries or really what they would eventually face if their magic failed and so whilst this could possibly work for others as a short introduction to this world I felt like I wanted more information (although I do appreciate that this might be forthcoming in future instalments).

I received a copy courtesy of the author for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

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  3. Stranded by Rosalind Tate
  4. One of Us by ML Roberts
  5. Berserker by Dimitrios Gkirgkiris
  6. Stone Magus by Stephanie C Marks
  7. Book of Secrets by Claudia Blood
  8. Dragonbirth by Raina Nightingale