Review: The Witch is Back by H. P. Mallory ★★★

The Witch is Back by H. P. Mallory
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Jolie Wilkins #4
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-345-53156-8
Page Count: 368
Rating: ★★★
Review Copy: Advanced Review Copy

Funny and feisty witch Jolie Wilkins is back—or rather, she’s back to her humble beginnings. Propelled into the past to her old Los Angeles fortune-telling shop, Jolie has no idea she possesses extraordinary powers, and she definitely doesn’t remember becoming Queen of the Underworld. But at least she has two incredibly sexy men vying for her affection: Rand Balfour, who looks very familiar, though Jolie can’t place his gorgeous face, and Sinjin Sinclair, who is tall, dark, and perfect . . . except for the fangs.
Yet despite her steamy love life, Jolie can’t shake the sense that something is not quite right—like she’s stuck in a déjà vu gone terribly awry. As both men race against time—and each other—to win Jolie’s heart, the fate of the Underworld hangs in the balance. And Jolie’s decision can either restore order or create an absolute, drop-dead disaster.

REVIEW

A tale of time travel and deception.

The last two books in this series have focused a lot more on character relationships, especially the love triangle situation, than on the war or anything else. I do applaud Mallory's imagination, and this new twist, where we now have Sinjin going back in time 2 years in an attempt to be the one that meets Jolie first- for reasons yet undisclosed- is another great example of it. But I can't help but miss the mystery and action of the first two books. In comparison to books 1 and 2, 3 have 4 have almost been straight-up romances- albeit with witchy shenanigans and time travel thrown in- but the war and everything has been put on the back burner until it's all sorted out. I miss the high octane pacing of book one and the magic training and kidnappings and...just all of it, really.

Not everyone enjoys love triangles. I can handle them okay most of the time, but this one is starting to irritate me. I just think it undermines this supposed fated, great love between Jolie and Rand to have her constantly conflicted over Sinjin. And then of course in this one her thoughts are twisted up further by Sinjin's duplicity. We begin the book with the Jolie we met two years ago- a more insecure, less confident version as you'll recall- and we have Sinjin pulling every one of her heart strings and telling her Rand is the very devil himself.

Sinjin has ulterior motives. We've always suspected so but this new plot takes things to new heights. I felt very bad for Jolie because Sinjin played her so easily having the advantage of knowing everything and therefore holding all the cards. Jolie knows nothing and has no cards. It's completely unfair and yet somehow, a small part of me, even with all this evidence to the contrary, still wants to see a good side of Sinjin. Go figure.

I do think that it's possible that Sinjin truly loves Jolie, but even if he does, it's a very selfish love. Rand might act the martyr sometimes and be a bit stuffy, but I at least trust that he loves Jolie unconditionally, and really doesn't deserve what he's having to put up with in this book.

There were some very enjoyable scenes with Sinjin, even though all the time reading them I felt bad for enjoying them knowing it wasn't fair on Jolie and probably not what she would choose if she had all the facts. But, if you're Team Sinjin, this is your book.

I found it quite tedious at times going right back to the beginning with Jolie. Having to have Sinjin explain the ins and outs of the underworld to her when we already know all of it inside-out. As does she, in the future...I mean the present...That was another factor that gave me headaches; trying to wrap my head around the time travel aspect. Does this mean in the future everything will be changed? Will people's memories be intact? Where's the future Jolie while Rand is back here? Gah! In the end I gave up trying to comprehend. It seemed safest for my brain cells.

I was glad to see the journal entries gone, but in their place we now have Jolie talking to the "two sides of herself" in italics. If anyone says 'inner goddess' I can't be held responsible for my actions. Thankfully, no one has so far, but it's perilously close.

My appreciation for this series is lessening by the book at this point, which is a shame because I thought it started out really strong. I think it's the lack of action and the love triangle getting on my nerves. I'm going to give the next book a look and see if things progress well from there.

3 Stars ★★★
Review Copy: Received from the publisher for an honest review.

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