I have always been drawn to books that feature witches and witchcraft. Living in the North West of England we have a lot of history involving witchcraft, primarily around a place called Pendle Hill. One of my favourite series, The Wardstone Chronicles is set in an alternate version of Lancashire, but still has a Pendle Hill. I loved the sound of Witch Born when I first picked it up. It had everything I wanted, witches, lore, history and political intrigue.
Though I enjoyed it, and when I put my mind to it managed to read it within a few days I found myself a little disappointed. I was hoping for more magic and witchcraft but there was hardly any. The book focused on Alyce whose mother is killed by Witchfinders and as a result she ends up on the run. She has magic but doesn't know how to use or control it. If anything she acts more as an apothecary than a witch. Alyce after narrowly escaping these Witchfinders ends up in the care of a tavern owner and one of her regular patrons and the story continues from there into spoiler territory.
Whilst I wish there was more references to hexes and spells its impossible to deny that this book has a brilliant plot, for the most part. I found the ending had a little to be desired and also rather vague, it felt like a start to a series rather than a stand alone. However, the way parts of history had been utilised and manipulated in this story was fantastic. The rivalry between Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots has been well documented and used in this novel wonderfully, with added extras. There were plenty of twists I didn't see coming and was always entertained.
I didn't feel all that connected with Alyce as a character. We never really got to see into her mind in the sense of her likes and dislikes. How she felt about things. She was simply a very driven character. She had a goal and that was all we as the reader were able to see.