I stumbled across Thea Atkinson on twitter when I first joined. She had posted a teaser to Anomaly that perked my interest. I got the book, devoured it and reviewed it. Since then, I admit I haven't gotten a chance to read more by her, but I have some on my TBR pile. Since she is Canadian, it was good motivation to dive back into her writing. I started off with her YA Fantasy, Water Witch.
ALAYSHA is a witch who has more power than she can control and her father uses that gift to decimate his enemies. Over her seventeen years, her power has enabled him to become the Emir of a large land. When she is asked to annihilate an entire peaceful village, she doesn't realize it may cost her the only connection she has to her past, and with it the secrets to managing her gift.
The story starts off shortly after Alaysha destroys an entire village. What she is capable of is laid out before us and it is quite horrifying. Especially given the fact that she can't really control it. She releases the power and if you're within reach you are DEAD. Of course, this power makes her quite useful to her conquering father. But it also leaves her feared and hated. Alaysha has spent the majority of her life alone and hated, constantly sent out to destroy. In a way, she is a slave. Thinking back, I have to admit, I would think she might be a bit more bitter. She was jaded, yes, but the story wasn't bogged down by it. Which isn't bad actually. Nothing worse than reading a story with a main character who constantly complains about her situation. Maybe it's because from a young age she's trained as a warrior and forced to cut off her emotions She isn't full of bitterness because she's been told warriors don't feel when they kill.
Only when she meets Number Nineteen - a young man who escaped her destruction of his tribe - and a little girl does she finally get a chance to feel. She learns to care, but also discovers it comes at a price. When she cares, that emotion gets used against her. She has escaped her father, but another has found a way to enslave her. But she never gives up. She is determined and driven to protect those she has come to care for. Even if it means killing a bunch of people with her power. Being trained as a warrior from a young age makes her convicted when she decides on something.
I only had a few minor problems. First, some of the wording was strange and pulled me out of the story. But since the story is fantasy, the wording works well with the characters. It fits the narrative. It's just a little jarring compared to a non-fantasy story. Second, there were a few minor typos. Not misspelled words, but wrong words. For example, no instead of not. The biggest mistakes were Alaysha's name once is spelled Alicia and Aedus's name was used before Alaysha had learned it.
Water Witch is the first book of Elemental Majic series and I am curious to know more. Especially, after the conversation Alaysha has with her father at the end. If you like fantasy, I'd recommend this book. Four stars, easy.