Bitter Night ~ Diana Pharaoh Francis

  • Title: Bitter Night
  • Author: Diana Pharaoh Francis
  • Series: Horngate Witches #1
  • Genre: PNR, UF
  • Format: eBook
  • Source: Own Copy
  • Reviewer: Soo
  • Rating: 3 out of 5


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. But her skills are about to be put to the test as they never have before….

The ancient Guardians of the earth are preparing to unleash widespread destruction on the mortal world, and they want the witches to help them. If the witches refuse, their covens will be destroyed, including Horngate, the place Max has grudgingly come to think of as home. Max thinks she can find a way to help Horngate stand against the Guardians, but doing so will mean forging dangerous alliances — including one with a rival witch’s Shadowblade, who is as drawn to Max as she is to him — and standing with the witch she despises. Max will have to choose between the old life she still dreams of and the warrior she has become, and take her place on the side of right — if she survives long enough to figure out which side that is…

Review:  3.5 Stars

The world isn’t exactly the way you think it is. There’s magic, witches, and warriors that used to be human but changed into something more by magic and sacrifice. One of those warriors is Max. She used to be a normal college girl with a normal life and a broken heart by a normal guy. In a drunken girls’ night out, Max made inconsequential affirmation to be something stronger than average and living forever young. In a heartbeat, an eternity of agony or what was really a month of time, Max is changed into a Shadowblade and she has become a supernatural warrior that is forbidden the sun.

The Horngate series is different from what I’ve read by Diana. The story takes place in the present, the characters are gritty, the plot line harsh and unforgiving. There’s some crass language, dark emotions, fierce fighting that pushes the boundaries of possibilities and characters that I’m intrigued to know more about.

It’s not a clear cut vision of right and wrong or black and white. I like that. There’s human frailty, uncommon strength, and mythological creatures that makes me go, “Awww!” It’s true. Sometimes, I really do react like a young girl.

The character building in the book for Max is pretty good. Clear plot line, introduction of several key features & characters, and a taste of violence that is more normal than not. Not really believing in the magical aspects because it’s hard to suspend my believe on that but it’s not distracting enough to keep me from reading the book.

Overall, this is a promising start to a series and I look forward to where it will go.


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