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4.0 out of 5 stars Witchbreaker by James Maxey
Witchbreaker is the third in the Dragon Apocalypse series, the story follows Sorrow and her quest to find the witch than can revert her impending transformation into the dragon Rott, caused by herself by using the elemental dragon's power.
Maxey's Dragon Apocalypse series has been an interesting one but not necessarily a successful one. I hugely enjoyed every moment...
Published 21 months ago by Mark Barlow

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, disappointing series ender
Witchbreaker is the third in James Maxey's Dragon Apocalypse series. I tremendously enjoyed the previous two books, Greatshadow and Hush, and I was really looking forward to this book, which I thought was the concluding volume. The good news is that Witchbreaker is just as fun as the other books; the bad news is that although it is the last volume, the story ends on an...
Published 19 months ago by W.M.M. van der Salm-Pallada


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3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, disappointing series ender, 13 May 2013
Witchbreaker is the third in James Maxey's Dragon Apocalypse series. I tremendously enjoyed the previous two books, Greatshadow and Hush, and I was really looking forward to this book, which I thought was the concluding volume. The good news is that Witchbreaker is just as fun as the other books; the bad news is that although it is the last volume, the story ends on an open-ended note. It makes for a dissatisfying ending to a fabulous series and I'm hoping that Maxey will return to this world in the future to give us the rest of the story. Before it sounds as if I'm being overly critical, let's jump into the review and you'll understand my reasoning.
Where Greatshadow and Hush centred on Infidel as their protagonist, in Witchbreaker the focus shifts to Sorrow, the witch we first met in Hush. It makes sense in terms of Infidel's story arc and the way the previous books were narrated, as Stagger, the narrator, is now otherwise occupied. In Sorrow we get another interesting female point of view, though one which left me a little conflicted at times. While Sorrow's development throughout the book was interesting and I liked it a lot, she also feels as a mouthpiece at times. Perhaps due to the fact that I've been reading a lot about the treatment of women in SFF in the past months, I felt that there were a lot of parallels between that conversation and Sorrow's view of the world. While I'm convinced the book is meant to add to the larger conversation, not as snide commentary on said conversation, and the books in the Dragon Apocalypse definitely ace the Bechdel test in spades - not to mention Maxey's previous portrayals of women, such as Infidel, Aurora, and the Black Swan - it was a little unsubtle to say the least. Especially as much of what drives Sorrow's quest for power and her hatred of both the Church of the Book and her general hatred and distrust of men, comes from what seem to be daddy-issues. Of course, having your father hang your grandmother as a witch is bound to leave some scars, but then planning to destroy the Church that condemns witches might be seen as extreme, even if there are very good reasons to dislike the Church of the Book tremendously. What I loved about Sorrow's character development in the book is that while she never loses the desire to avenge herself on her father and the Church, she does learn that not all men are evil and to let down her walls and allow herself to care for and trust those around her, especially the Romer family. Her growth felt genuine and not spurred by her desire for a man, even if there is a clear love story in the book.

Maxey's dialogue in Witchbreaker is again quite snappy and funny and he manages to mix lots of humour in with some genuinely touching and emotional scenes. My particular favourite secondary characters were Slate, Sorrow's reluctant partner in the hunt for Avaris, Bigsby, the former-fishmonger-turned-princess dwarf, and the Romer family. They all have separate emotional journeys to travel during the book and they all teach Sorrow something about herself. I especially found Bigsby's acceptance of his cross-dressing needs touching as it meant he was able to embrace all of himself and it meant that he wasn't just meant as comic relief, his was a story in its own right. The same goes for the Romer clan, whose matriarch has to learn to let go, only to learn that her chicks can fly, but choose to remain in the nest for a while longer. Their close-knit family, the love they share and their natural inclusion of Sorrow as one of them is one of the bigger impetuses for Sorrow's growth along the way and they are really quite wonderful. We see even more of the various dragons and of the powers at play in the world Maxey has created here and both the dragons and the closer look at other parts of the world were fascinating.

All of which makes the ending even more disappointing. While there is a solution to this story, the ending does sort of leave our characters in medias res and I really hope that Maxey returns to this world in a new series or even in a standalone, as when I finished the book I really thought that there'd been a change of plans and that there would be a fourth book, as the story doesn't seem done. So what does that mean for my opinion on the book? As the next book in the series and as part of the Dragon Apocalypse series it was a great book and a wonderful continuation of the story. As the final book in the series? I was left wanting, without the insurance of more to come. So would I recommend picking up this book? Yes, if you've read the previous two and enjoyed them a lot or you're a completist. If you haven't started this series yet, I'd definitely read books one and two, but hold off on Witchbreaker until you're sure that you like the world and its characters and/or it's announced Maxey will return to this story in a follow-up series.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.

ETA: The author commented on my blog to let me know that he definitely intends to return to this story, so while Witchbreaker is the end of the Dragon Apocalypse series, it isn't the end of Sorrow's story!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Witchbreaker by James Maxey, 17 Mar 2013
By 
Mark Barlow (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Witchbreaker (Dragon Apocalypse Book 3) (Kindle Edition)
Witchbreaker is the third in the Dragon Apocalypse series, the story follows Sorrow and her quest to find the witch than can revert her impending transformation into the dragon Rott, caused by herself by using the elemental dragon's power.
Maxey's Dragon Apocalypse series has been an interesting one but not necessarily a successful one. I hugely enjoyed every moment of his Bitterwood trilogy and his short stories but reading through the newest trilogy, three books so far anyway, I'm a little disappointed. I never felt myself get quite so involved in the series as his other one but I can't quite point out why. I still enjoyed it, with some entertaining scenes that kept me reading.
The characters are the best aspect of the series, an assortment of idiosyncratic people who are as individual as each other. They are all fully realized creations, with none feeling out of place or in the wrong book. One thing about this book is that it doesn't feature the vast majority of the characters that were in the first two. Admittedly a few of them didn't quite make it but still it felt odd going into book three. I expected to see what the previous characters were doing but I didn't, instead getting Sorrow, who was in the previous book as something of a side charter but in this gets full leading woman credentials. And she is an interesting character, fully worthy of being the sole focus of the book. In a way the story feels like a spin-off, not a fully realized third part to the story.
The action scenes have been the things the permeates the entire book and they are as thrilling as they are OTT.
Witchbreaker is well worth your time, full of great action scenes if a little forgettable.
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