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Heart of the Witch by [Goodwin, Judy]
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Heart of the Witch Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 452 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Judy Goodwin has been writing since she was a child, when her fourth grade English instructor told her, ‘You should be a writer.” She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and a Masters in Education from Argosy University. Over the last ten years she has appeared in several small press magazines and anthologies with her fantasy and science fiction short stories and poetry. This is her debut novel. When not working on her fiction, Judy works at a local college and also does technical writing as a consultant. She is proud to say that her daughter has the writing bug as well. They live in a house full of life in the form of three dogs and four cats, and always try to appreciate the beauty of nature. You can connect with the author at her blog here: http://judygoodwin.wordpress.com or at her Twitter account, judygoodwin6. She is also a Goodreads member.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4144 KB
  • Print Length: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Diamond Print Press; 2nd edition edition (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AR5HMZO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,685,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While the underlying plot of a young magic user having to flee an oppressive religion and find his place in the world is common in fantasy, Goodwin adds freshness by setting it in a world of colonial oppressors and black-powder weapons rather than a pseudo-European Middle Ages.

Zerrick Dhur is trapped between two drives: as the son of the pastor, he is expected to be an example of proper behaviour; as a curious teenager, he wants to learn all the magic his mentor can teach him. But, studying magic is not just inappropriate it is sinful, forcing him to learn in secret. When his mentor is arrested for witchcraft, Zerrick is forced to exchange his comfortable life for one of running from both the righteous and the criminals who lurk in the jungle.

Goodwin’s world-building is solid. Both the colonials and the natives have a distinct society but are composed of disparate groups, creating an immediate feeling of realism.

The revelation of both magic and the more unusual flora and fauna is well-paced, allowing the reader to share Zerrick’s learning experience without having to experience long periods where little develops. Both the risks of magic and its source are plausible, creating a balance between solving problems and causing them.

The religions are similarly skilfully crafted, offering both benefits and disadvantages to followers. And – unlike some fantasy novels – there is no hierarchy of worth; no one religion overcomes the others, or is ethically superior.

The dénouement, when it arrives, is both satisfying and consistent with the rest of the book.

Goodwin’s characterisation is as sound as her world-building. Zerrick’s combination of self-doubt and arrogance is a very realistic response to the stresses he faces.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am a fan of the fantasy genre. In fact, the majority of what I read is fantasy. I enjoyed Heart of the Witch. Fans of the genre will not be disappointed.

Zerrick is a well-developed character and following him through his coming of age story was a treat. The elements of fantasy that can be hard to create, such as the rules of magic, were done nicely and were easy to follow. The world created for the story was well though out and interesting.

Overall, this is a great story that will hold your attention
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book. The world and magic were well-thought out, the cultural conflicts as Zerrick (and his honey Mira) moved from place to place kept it interesting. Some of the background was maybe a bit over-detailed -- but that's a quibble. Overall, Heart Of The Witch has a good and satisfying plot, and the story moved along nicely. I liked the heroes, and disliked the villains, and rooted for the former to succeed.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Heart of the Witch follows Zerrick, a young man who practices magic in secret under the tutelage of Alden, an old herbalist. The problem is, he lives in a town becoming more and more afraid of "witches" and the power they wield. No one would ever suspect that the witch everyone is so afraid of is Zerrick, the son of the town's pastor, a devout follower of Iahmel, whose purpose is to rile the town against the threat of witches.

Zerrick, hearing differing histories and views from both his father and his mentor, is conflicted from the start. On the one hand, he is taught that magic is evil and dangerous, a gateway to the domain of Angist. His father also teaches that Ainera, the Goddess of magic, is also evil, a trickster to fool people into using and abusing their magic. On the other hand, Zerrick is taught that Ainera and the magic are not inherently evil and that the magic is natural and beneficial. Only men with evil hearts who listen to the lies of Angist use it for evil. This contradiction forces Zerrick to consider each side for himself. But the conflict doesn't remain an internal one for long, because the benevolent Ainera and the evil Angist eventually take note of him.

Overall, the plot, characters, mythology, and cultures within the story are both well-developed and believable. I enjoyed the parallels drawn with Christianity and with colonial pilgrims (including their fear of witchcraft). Although this is a work of fiction, it's obvious the author draws from extensive knowledge of these subjects to weave such a vibrant world.

I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves thought-provoking fantasy that doesn't strictly adhere to the cliched norms of the fantasy genre.

I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 25 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long, rather boring and lots of errors 14 Jan. 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not quite sure why I finished this book, but I had gotten too far to give up and was hoping for improvement which never came. Nothing in it ever truly grabbed my attention and I found the whole thing rather boring. The characters did nothing for me and the setting in what is essentially colonial America was not very intriguing.

The first half of the book felt like a religious lecture against slavery and the second half was a very standard fantasy story about a young magic user finding his way. The problem is that he has so little confidence in himself that it is impossible to see him as a hero, but more as a puppet of the Goddess.

The book is also rife with spelling, grammar and consistency errors, which get especially bad in the 2nd half of the book, almost as if the editor was getting bored and just wanted to be done with it.

There are a couple instances of significant time and action changes that are signified by nothing more than a paragraph change. When the adventurers get to the city of Aloria they are eventually shown to a room to settle in. However, in the next paragraph it is 3 weeks later. I had to stop reading and go back to see if I had missed a few pages or something. A 3-week break in the story should be a far more significant event than a paragraph change, most likely a new chapter. With errors like these causing me to leave the story over and over it is very difficult to read and that is why it took me so long 5+ weeks to read.
3.0 out of 5 stars Deity Struggle 15 July 2014
By Sparta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
We all have our preferences for plot types; if you like struggles between good and bad with Deity involvement then this maybe your story. The tale's hero, Zerrick, is the unwanted son of a key member of soceity. The boy finds friendship with a local herbalist. The man help's Zerrick searches for the inner truth of whether his magic is a curse or a blessing. I liked how magic's power came from plants and trees.

Beyond the colonial town a vast wilderness with magical monsters, few venture into it . The hero is chased out of town, only to magic meets a young woman, Mira, who seeks to flee the constraints put on women in their society. Their adventure together and through their struggles grow emotionally vested in their relationship. Born is the coming of age turmoil of teenage angst.

By the time you are 75% into the story, the conflict between the higher powers becomes very clear and deity struggles become an active part of the adventure. I do not want to spoil your read so that is about all the detail I will provide. For me the coming of age emotions got old fast, with a very predictiable and familiar plot line.

The world building was good and that is what really held my attention. The development of the two main characters was done well, but all the other actors are secondary without real feel. Active deity involvement isn't really my thing so you need to keep that in mind when considering my rating.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting magic system 26 Dec. 2013
By R.A. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Heart of the Witch.
Over all, I enjoyed this book. The magic system was understandable, and I don’t think there was a single time when I felt like the world lacked continuity. This can be hard to do in a fantasy, so thumbs up to Miss Goodwin. I can’t say the magic system was super original (is that even possible?) because it loosely followed a Satan/God/Wiccan outline, but it didn’t detract from the story in my opinion. The cultures were well defined and the motivations behind different groups made sense. The world was interesting and when I started reading I wanted to know what was going to happen to Zerrick and his teacher. The writing was pretty good and didn’t hang me up, but I didn’t feel a real emotional draw in, which is important to me. That changed with the introduction of Mira. Once I got to Mira, I really didn’t care about Zerrick anymore. She was such a likable character and she felt more real than any of the others. I wished the story had been about her and we’d only had Zerrick’s story from her perspective. The romantic tension from her end was fun and drew me in. From his perspective it was weird (but explained well in the story).
The reason I only gave three stars is this: For one thing, it took me a long time to get emotionally invested in the story, for whatever reason. As I mentioned, this is important to me. More important than plot or any other single element in a book, which is why I finished Twilight even though there are countless things wrong with that book. Anyway, after Mira was added to the cast I got invested, but then I felt thrown to a distance every time I read from Zerrick’s point of view. I have speculated on why this might be for a quite some time, but it isn’t worth writing all down, here. The second (and also important to me) reason for only three stars is that part way through the book the editing took a steep down hill turn. There were lots of typos and non-sentences that really should have been noticed by someone, but must not have been checked over. I’m not talking about their/they’re, but missing parts of sentences and sentences mixed up so it was hard to understand. I read this earlier this year, so perhaps those errors have been edited, I don’t know. This may not bother others, but it makes me a little crazy. The last thing is that as the book neared its end, I kept getting the feeling like things were rushed. I’d get an occasional scene, but a lot of things were skimmed over when they seemed like they could have been interesting. I got the feeling that Miss Goodwin was tired of the story, or maybe she just thought it was getting too long. I couldn’t stay emotionally connected, and had a hard time caring about any of the characters by the end. I think maybe there was too much from Zerrick’s perspective for my liking. You may well feel differently about the character, and in that case you wouldn’t at all have the same experience I did.
Language: Only a couple objectionable words, and nothing you wouldn’t find in a PG movie. At least, not that I noticed. I admit that I often read right over them without realizing it, probably because I’ve trained myself to do that.
Sexual Content: None. There’s an almost scene, but it doesn’t get very far at all. There are some thoughts from a man’s perspective, but not detailed.
Over-all Message/Plot: I didn’t catch any plot holes or inconsistencies. I can’t say there was really an over-all message, except maybe that we should all just accept each other and stop fighting over ideals. There was also and underlying theme about taking advantage of those who can’t defend themselves. I think most fantasy readers would enjoy reading this. There are some cool monsters and as mentioned, the magic system is nice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but needs some editing 23 Jun. 2013
By Scott A. Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"On that rise the ring of fire his father had appeared when he first began having the dream..."

I have ignored most syntax errors because the story is very interesting and kept my attention, however the above sentence makes absolutely no sense and really threw me completely out of the story. It threw me out so hard I had to write this and hope I can finish the story.

I was able to finish the story, however I must make note of the fact that while one can indeed LEAD people, the past tense is LED as in "Zerrick LED the group" not "Zerrick lead the group."

Also reading "Now that now that..." was off putting.

These were the worst errors as they threw me out of such an interesting story. I really enjoyed the cultures created and the characters that were written about. I would be interested in reading more from this author, but suggest she finds a good editor as there were myriad grammar errors throughout.

I do suggest reading the book as it is very creative and interesting.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of Ideas. 7 July 2014
By jcat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was sort of a hodgepodge of worlds, with Salem Witch trial vibes, Mythology aspects, and lots of Magical creatures. A 'Coming of Age' quest for a young magic pupil, as he experiences rejection by his family and faces seriously evil adversaries in order to save a Goddess.

Lots of action, very light on the romance, YA appropriate. As an adult, I would have liked a little more. The beginning world building intrigued me, but I'm afraid the rest of the book didn't follow through with quite as much promise. Even though the action scenes were well written, the plot just seemed to stall in spots. I believe that the meshing of Religion and Mythology could use a little more work. The ending, although reasonably resolved, felt a little anti-climatic to me. It does leave things open for a sequel. Overall, I found it to be an OK read.
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