Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book
Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
Publisher: Pocket
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Summary: Once, Max dreamed of a career, a home, a loving family. Now all she wants is freedom…and revenge. A witch named Giselle transformed Max into a warrior with extraordinary strength, speed, and endurance. Bound by spellcraft, Max has no choice but to fight as Giselle’s personal magic weapon — a Shadowblade — and she’s lethally good at it.

I won a my copy of Bitter Nightin a contest last month. I didn't know anything about the book, but I loved the cover, and it was endorsed by Patricia Briggs and Rob Thurman, two of my favorite authors. I finished it today and was it ever a page turner, to put it mildly. The author has the action scenes written so well, that I couldn't think of putting the book down in the middle of one. "What did you say? You're hungry? Where's dinner? It will have to wait til the end of this chapter. Have a cookie!" Yes, it was that good.

Max is a female warrior who protects the witch who binds her. She's the best at what she does. Her team is devoted to her, and the witch needs her. Max only wants one thing: revenge. She feels trapped and considers her job as a warrior to be slavery. Though she is bitter,as the title suggests, she's also loyal to those around her, not wanting anyone to suffer needlessly. The book could have been very dark and without hope, but it's not. The author has created a unique world and presents it to us along with Max's story. She weaves it together in such a way that we learn about the world and Max at the same time without any confusion.

The characters in Bitter Nightare not predictable, and they are described so well that I could picture them in my mind clearly, quirks and all. In some series it takes awhile to understand the characters, to identify with them and their place in the bigger picture, especially when it's a new and unique world. Bitter Night sucked me right in from the start and made it hard to stop reading. Of course, sarcasm was rampant. As I always say, a good warrior has to have a wicked tongue and butt kicking weapons.

I would recommend Bitter Night to fans of Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs and Jocelynn Drake. It's a fast paced urban fantasy with a lot of great action, rich characters and a unique world of witches, angels and warriors.

You can read the first chapter here:

Diana also has a slew of short stories that I'm reading right now on her website. You can read them here: