I’m so pleased to be on the blog tour for the third and final book in the Caitlyn series by Elizabeth Davies (though gutted that there won’t be any more!). I recommend checking out my reviews of Three Bloody Pieces and A Stain on the Soul before you read on, as it’s so hard to avoid spoilers when reviewing the later books in a series!
Book: Another Kind of Magic by Elizabeth Davies
Read before: No
Ownership: Kindle copy sent for fair review.
“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”
Nearly two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by supernatural forces and black magic, and she has known many mistresses. This time, the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife of Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.
At first, this mistress appears no different to any of the others Caitlyn has served – until Llewelyn captures William de Braose, and Joan falls in love, risking everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.
Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…
As the synopsis says, at the beginning of this book we have jumped forward nearly two hundred years in history, which left me temporarily confused! I was expecting the story to pick up perhaps twenty or so years later, when the witch that we meet at the very end of A Stain on the Soul is a grown woman. So there was a quick scrabble to Wikipedia for me to find out a little bit about the life and times of William de Braose, since this isn’t a period I know anything about. Once I’d realised that the jump was so big, I was able to settle down into the story, and wow, what a ride it was!
I think Elizabeth Davies has a real talent for character. I have absolutely adored watching Caitlyn grow and change from the naive 23 year old she was in the first book, to the woman who, though still appearing 23, has had to struggle through two hundred years of servitude and cat-hood. It’s a really subtle change, and Caitlyn is still the character I fell in love with, but she’s much wiser and more tired now. You can feel how the years and years of serving a variety of witches has made her kind of resigned to the twists and turns of fate – you get the impression that she’s seen it all before, which is a fascinating perspective to have when the young (non-immortal!) people of the story are deeply entrenched in their own opinions of their specialness. Through all of this, she’s still kind and has an enormous capacity for love, so I was just rooting for her troubles to end… And there really might be a way to break the spell this time!
We see far less of Joan, Caitlyn’s current witch, than we did of Arlette and Herleva, but I liked that this was explained not only in plot terms, with Caitlyn being on an extended mission away from her, but also in the fact that the growth of Christianity and the loss of the older religions has had an impact on the quality of magic-workers. Herleva was terrifyingly powerful and ambitious, but you get the impression that a fair few of Caitlyn’s witches have been content to just use her as a tool for their own pettiness. Joan has grand plans, but doesn’t seem anywhere near the scale of Herleva, which allows Caitlyn a certain amount of freedom. Where the previous books had Caitlyn dealing with immediate crises, this book allows her time to work on her greatest problem of all, the curse.
(I wasn’t sure where to put this, but while Caitlyn works things out, there’s a fair amount of suicidal ideation and two suicide attempts. Take care if these are triggers for you – I can let you know which bits to skim if you get in touch.)
I loved the new characters we were introduced to, especially Hugh and his grandmother, Blod. It’s a real testament to the quality of the writing that even transplanted to a time when all the previous characters are very very dead, you can fall in love with a new set so easily. Blod was amazing (yay for the return of some herbal magic and medicine!), and I loved the relationship between Caitlyn and Hugh. I really can’t say much more without spoilers, but there was one bit of the book that made me shout ‘oh!’ and burst into tears. It’s perfect and beautiful and made the whole series come together for me. (As a side note, I was very excited to see Caitlyn name her horse Gerald, because this is what my husband and I call all horses in video games. I’m not sure why it started but it made me laugh to see it here!)
Another Kind of Magic ended up being my favourite book of the whole series. I loved seeing Caitlyn regain some hope in her life, and the historical context is beautifully researched and richly woven, too. I’m so sad that this is the last I’ll see of Caitlyn! I see rereads coming very, very soon..! A solid five out of five witch’s cats, and a five for the series overall. If you’re looking for life after Outlander, an amazing portrayal of a strong woman, or just a damn good witchy historical read, then I urge you to pick up these books. They’re wonderful.
Elizabeth is also bringing you one last giveaway to celebrate the release date!
Giveaway – Win a gorgeous tote bag and a signed paperback copy of each of the three books in the Caitlyn series. (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…