Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.” ― William Shakespeare
Author: Andy Dunn
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 34000 Words
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: After a failed move to California, Oz returns home to Minnesota. He gets a job at a witchery shop owned by his ex Rhys, with whom he might still be in love. Rhys’s homemade love potions are the most popular item in his shop but even he might need the extra jolt; he’s just shown the door to his unreliable lover Kip. Kip is determined to win Rhys over again and his own attempts at love magic are weak, at best, but Rhys’s feelings for Oz are hindering Kip’s efforts. Both Oz and Rhys are keen on a reconciliation but neither feel ready to take that first step to make it happen. Do they need a small kick from one of Rhys’s potions or is real love strong enough to develop without the help of witchery?
Review: I’m so over vampires and werewolves in this genre. Witches are where it’s at. Kudos on the witches, Andy Dunn. Since the Burning Times, women and witchcraft have gone hand in hand, and men and the mystical have been cast aside in favor of the fertile goddess worshippers of yesteryear. Aside from an awful B-movie about man-witches and a convenient cameo from a Marilyn Manson looking Goth witch in Buffy, this corner of the subgenre has been horribly underplayed. Well, not any more.
Without sacrificing any of the literary value of the practice, Andy Dunn has carved a new spin on a traditional tale and put one handsome, silver fox in the centre of it; a world of magic at our fingertips with a hint to a back-story that would allow for expansion of this world. We have Rhys, an Earth Magic practitioner, advanced in skills, who can harness the power of lightning; Danny-Boy, his feisty friend with a handle on fire, and we have the bad guy, Kip, who is just a dick, really, and apparently can’t understand the word ‘no’ when he hears it. Jumble these boys together, and you have a fabulous tale of magical wonder.
But the true story lays in the character of Oz, a sympathetic man with a Jewish background, who, despite his lack of magic, brings his own brand of the fantastic to the story. After six years apart, Rhys and Oz must find a way to work together after Oz is given the chance to work in Rhys’s magic shop. Cue the sparks, both literal and metaphorical. Whilst our two MCs fight to rekindle their lost passion, with the aid of straight-talking Daniel, waiting in the wings to throw a grenade into the situation is our antagonist, the jilted Kip.
With a barrage of magical mishaps, what transpires is an endearing, well written story that warms the heart and speeds the pulse. The characters are alive on the page, the romance smoulders without getting porny, and the hits just keep on coming. Though I found Oz’s continued apologies a bit of a buzz kill, and Kip’s persistence borderline psychotic, Rhys held the story and my attention in a vice grip. Well played indeed, Mr. Dunn.
So the cover isn’t great, and the ending was a bit swift for my liking, but what Andy Dunn has achieved here is a sweet tale, rooted in a previously untapped corner of the genre. He has opened doors to possible continuation of a series here as well. I want to hear more of this witches council; I want to be thrust into Danny-Boy and Rafe’s back story. Essentially, I want more. Which is always a good sign. Four stars for this snappy little tale of magic and mayhem, with a cast of characters that jump off the page and right into your imagination.