Title: Hunting for Witches
Author: Lana Pecherczyk
Series: The Ludus #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Creative Cartel Publishing
Pages: 405, Kindle Edition
Publication Date: April 30th 2015
My Rating: ★★★★
Witches have been obliterated – or so the world hopes. At 24, Roo struggles to keep her DNA-changing abilities secret. She doesn’t feel like a witch, but if she isn’t, how can she manipulate the physical world? Why does she feel the energy of all living things?
On tenuous ground, Roo keeps her skills hidden with the help of her sexy songstress BFF and her barmaid job at The Cauldron. Hiding in plain sight seems to be working until a mysterious witch hunter comes to town. Roo’s powers are growing and, when a witch possesses the body of her sister, she defends her using any means possible.
Roo is exposed and attacked from all sides. She must learn to trust others while she discovers her identity and masters her powers to save the lives of her loved ones. She needs to convince herself and her town that she’s more than a witch.
Inspired by mythology, science and fantasy, this fascinating debut novel is set in a brilliantly envisioned world where life is a secret game played by gods and witches until death …
Hunting for Witches is the first book in The Ludus series by Lana Pecherczyk. It is also the author’s debut novel and a stunning one at that! It’s been a really long time since I’ve read a book with witches in it and I think this book has just renewed my love of them!
Summarizing this would make it too easy to spoil it for you guys because so many things happened in this book and spoiling it would ruin the fun. So, from “What I liked” and “What I didn’t like” below you should be able to glean enough information on the book.
What I liked:
- The plot– The plot was original and gripping. I can confidently say that I have never read anything like this book and I don’t think I will anytime soon. The author really thought everything out and it all played out beautifully as a story.
- The writing– For the writing of a debut author I found the it to be incredibly fluid. If I didn’t find out beforehand that this was the author’s first novel, judging by the writing I would never have guessed. It was easy to read and take in.
- The world-building– Awesome world building for this book. You can sort of picture the world in your head. At one point the people in the book reverted to a dark ages like existence where women couldn’t stay by themselves, couldn’t go out alone and needed to be with a male sponsor when in public. You get the gist. Then this important bit where the universe is a game board of sorts and the gods are the Players, humans are the avatar and witches are the glitch. Top that off with a Queen, Prince and Royals. Amazing! Totally one of a kind and new for Urban Fantasy.
- The characters
–The protagonist, La Roux (Roo), lived a sheltered life with her Aunt Lucy and her sister, Leila, until she chose to move out of her aunt’s place. That showed courage because after her mom died (childbirth) and her father left, her aunt and sister were the only family she had left but she decided to move in somewhere close to her best friend and get away from her fanatic, name calling aunt. Her aunt, well, I didn’t care too much about her. Leila, though, I did feel sorry for her, she couldn’t help blaming Roo for their mother’s death, but she thought that the distance could help them patch things up and they could start fresh. What happened between them is up to you to find out! 😉 Back to Roo, for three years she wore this collar that prevented her from touching other people. Why? Because she was suspected of bewitching her ex-boyfriend, so her punishment was three years of probation, if she touched anyone and the collar came off then it’s end game; she’s a witch. And you know what they do to witches, right? She was just about to be released from it when she gets into huge trouble with a witch. She was determined to fight and save her sister who was possessed by the witch. Also, after going three years without contact I was expecting her to go jumping in some random guy’s arms. That is such an odd thing to expect, I know. But it has happened before in other books to characters who’ve had to go less than three years without human contact. I was pleasantly surprised to find that she had her emotions and hormones in check throughout the book. Sorry, no jumping of random guys here! 😉
–Tommy was a friend of Roo‘s and I LOVED him. He made things less doom and gloom and was easy going. He’s that guy that cracks a joke during situations not because he doesn’t mean well but to take the edge of lighten things up for everyone. It seemed that he was interested in Roo but I saw him as her little brother more than a boyfriend. You never know right?
–Ahh.. So here comes the “main guy”.. Cash is the leading guy in more ways than one. Yeah, he was the lead in the book but he also liked to lead, literally. And much like many guys who like to lead, he was also emotionally handicapped. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. No, 8/10 times I fall for the emotionally challenged guy. Why? Because once they get over the whole “I have my reasons for not feeling anything. And I won’t tell, so don’t ask.”, after they’re done with that, I usually find that they either feel too much, or are incapable of feeling much for reasons. I guess what I’m trying to say is under the facade they’re actually pretty sweet, will be there for you when you need them most and cuddly. And there is nothing better than a guy who’s there for you and likes to cuddle! I am getting way ahead of myself here. So you see Cash had his reasons for being less emotional. You’re probably guessing it’s something along the line of “Been seriously hurt by a loved one in the past, so no feely is the best feely”. Nice try, but guess again! Okay, apart from lack of emotions he also got to remember his past lives and they’re totally uncalled for and can happen at any time. The worst part was that he confessed to Roo about living so many lives -past and present- but he had never been in love. Cut him some slack, universe, give the guy a cuddle! He may seem like an ass in the beginning but you’ll warm up to him in no time. To YA readers out there, I thought I’ll let you know that he reminded me of Derek Souza from Kelley Armstrong’s The Darkest Powers series.
- The possibilities– While many things went on in Hunting for Witches it also left us with loads of “maybes”. Since romance took a backseat in this book, it felt like the relationship between the characters could fully blossom in the second book. And I think we’ll be getting more romance in the next book(s).
What I didn’t like:
- Too much description– While Pecherczyk is really good at describing -her action scenes are a definite plus- sometimes it just got a little too much, you know? Like she could have taken out a few lines here and there and it wouldn’t have hurt.
- TMI– Way too much information for the first book in a series. There were parts where I had to stop reading, rewind and re-read the introduction to the mythology. At times it was overwhelming and hard to take in, like, information overload. With so much of the concept introduced in the first book, I hope the second book is able to clarify the old ones or add a few new ones but not too many that it would be hard for the readers to process.
I loved how Pecherczyk managed to weave mythology and urban fantasy together and create something one of a kind and engaging. I cannot wait for the sequel!! If you’re a fan of mythology, urban fantasy, and a mix of both with a twist, then I highly recommend you try this book. It’s also quite suitable for young adults as there were hardly any scenes (none?) I would call explicit or too mature for older young adults.
Q: Hi Lana! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: Hello from the land down under! It always marvels me how we can connect to readers from the other side of the world. So, if you haven’t guessed already, I live in Australia – Perth, Western Australia. I’ve been an artist and marketer most of my life with a secret passion for telling stories. Recently, I took the plunge and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to write my debut, Hunting for Witches. I’m a huge fan of the Urban Fantasy genre and read as much as I can. I have two little balls of energy (a.k.a boys) and illustrate and design all of the artwork you see on my books and websites. I’m also a massive Sailor Moon fan. No judgement.
Q: Describe Hunting for Witches in 10 words or less.
A: Evolution is the Game, Witches are the Glitch.
Q: What inspired you to write Hunting for Witches? Was it a particular event, person or something else altogether?
A: I actually was inspired by the Bloc Party song ‘Hunting for Witches’. The song is actually about the London Bombings, but my mind conjured images of real witches ‘taking our jobs and taking our women’. I turned this into an ‘evil body snatching witches’ concept. Then I thought, what if it wasn’t only witches, but another level of higher beings—gods? What if they were here first and used humans to download their souls into then play a game, masquerading as us to further their own evolution? Then that became, what if there was a secret war going on between the two? The book centres on a girl, Roo, who is caught between both worlds—one hidden and one out in the open.
Q: What is it about witches that has you fascinated?
A: Definitely the power one has over nature and the costs that this power can bring. When I wrote ‘Hunting for Witches’, I wanted to keep most of the elements we like about witches but to show two different sides to the story. I wanted to keep the magical power over nature but I gave this a scientific twist. In this world, magic is the ability to use one’s body consciously as the normal human does subconsciously. Change the colour of your nails, release pheromones to attract the opposite sex, create a virus to hex your enemy… no matter what you do, if it’s for selfish reasons you could be faced with selfish consequences.
Q: If you could bring ONE character from your book to the real world who would it be? And why?
A: Cash is an interesting character. He’s suffered from an affliction that lets him remember his past lives, whether they be fun or horrific. Imagine being able to see into the past, or to have the knowledge of a thousand men? I’d like to ask him many secrets that have been lost—then there is Marc, the egotistical god who says what he likes and does what he wants but has to remain shackled to the rules of the hidden game they play. I’ve always been fascinated by the secrets of the universe and Marc is my way of exploring the possibilities.
Q: Did you always know you were going to be an author?
A: Absolutely not. I’ve always loved to write and tell stories, but until recently I never believed I could. I thought that you had to have a degree, or was able to communicate incredibly well, and ask any of my friends—my mummy brain has never left. I forget words, mix them up and often get lost in a daydream mid-sentence. This didn’t mean I wasn’t good at writing and when I finally listened to that pestering inner voice, I found out that I could tell as good a tale as many of them.
Q: Are you working on anything else right now? Or planning to?
A: Yes. I have the second release in the series half written—it’s a novella told from two main male characters of The Ludus series. I’ve also started a dystopian story called ‘The Common’ and I’m collaborating with a friend, Louisa Loder, on a Young Adult series. I’ve also started a business with her that offers our self-publishing services to anyone else who wants to write and publish. It’s called Creative Cartel Publishing. http://www.creativecartelpublishing.com.au
Q: Any words of advice to aspiring authors around the world?
A: Anyone can write. Just start. Write in your favourite genre, read your favourite genre and just write. NaNoWriMo is a great community and free place to get yourself started.
I am actually posting this later than I should have but WordPress has been giving me problems. Again. Am I the only one experiencing problems when posting or has this happened to you too? Back to the book, how did you like the review? Did it grab your attention enough that you would read the book? If you’ve read it let me what you thought of it. For those who haven’t, did it just land a spot on your TBR? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to join the giveaway! Stay bookish and hugs! ❤