Author: Silver Ravenwolf
Paperback, 288 pages
Publication date: February 2001
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Witches' Night of Fear is the second book in Ravenwolf's Witch Chillers series of young adult mystery fiction. Before reading this review, I suggest you read AthenaPrime's review of the first book in the series, Witches' Night Out. Most of the strengths and weaknesses AthenaPrime lists for the first book also apply to the second book in the series.
This book opens with Bethany Salem having a vision of a murder while at a party where she and her friends are really out of place. Before the vision fades she also sees a three-eyed woman who reappears in visions throughout the book. On the way home from the party, Bethany stops to fill her tank and discovers the gas station clerk murdered -- just as in her vision.
The rest of the book is a roller coaster ride through teen problems, generally believable witchcraft, and solving the murder. Witches' Night of Fear is not something that most adults will enjoy, but I suspect many teens (especially those interested in magick and witchcraft) will enjoy it. Ravenwolf does an excellent job of making her teen characters come alive as teens. Unfortunately, the mystery sometimes seems to get lost amongst everything else going on in the book. In a nice touch, an appendix gives a simple method of using playing cards for divination as some of the characters do in this novel.
The Witch Chillers books make me think of a modern day Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys series with a bit of magick and witchcraft thrown in. The writing quality isn't up to that of those classics, but it is easily up to that of some of their imitators. There is one major difference between those older series and this one, however -- and it's not the magick. The characters and situations in the Witch Chillers books are not nearly as neat and sanitized. Witches' Night of Fear might be too intense for many younger readers, although it should be okay for most teens.
While Witches' Night of Fear has rough edges, I suspect most teens will not really care. This is especially true if they enjoyed Witches' Night Out and want to read more about the characters. Most teens with an interest in mysteries or magick will find this book an enjoyable read -- and that's really all a book like this needs to recommend it.
Reviewed by Randall
Additional Books by Silver Ravenwolf