REVIEW: Malus Domestica

malus.jpgBOOK: Malus Domestica
PAGES: 534
PUBLISHER: Madman Press
MY RATING: ★ ★ ★ (3.5/5)

She’s not your usual college-age girl. More often than not, Robin’s washing a load of gory clothes at the laundromat, or down at the lake throwing hatchets at pumpkins. She lives in an old van, collects swords, and dyes her mohawk blue.

Also, she kills witches for a living on YouTube.

You see, Robin’s life was turned upside down by those hideous banshees from Hell. She spent high-school in a psych ward, drugged out of her head for telling the cops her mother Annie was murdered with magic. Magic from a witch named Marilyn Cutty.

After a 3-year warpath across America, she’s come home to end Cutty for good.

But she’ll have to battle hog-monsters, a city full of raving maniacs, and a killer henchman called the “Serpent” if she wants to end the coven’s reign over the town of Blackfield once and for all.

I received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So I very well may still change my rating of this book cause I’m honestly not sure where I stand. 3-3.5 maybe. I have a lot of mixed feelings towards this book. There is no doubt in my mind that Hunt is a brilliant writer. You can tell he has such a vivid imagination, and he has an almost poetic way with stringing together his descriptions that make you conjure up the perfect image of the scenes he’s writing.

I was initially drawn to this book by the cover. It’s completely gorgeous and the woman on the front reminded me of Cassandra from Dragon Age.

Robin Martine is a witch hunter, traveling the continent in her old plumbing van and filming her endeavors for her YouTube channel: Malus Domestica. After several years of traveling, she’s back in her home town where it all began, to finish what she believes her mother started.

If I think about it, I believe Malus Domestica is the first real plunge into the horror genre for me, and it wasn’t a bad place to start. This book was downright spooky at times.

“‘I can show you where to hide where no one will ever, ever find you.’”

That’s the first line that actually gave me shivers and made me feel almost uncomfortable. The horror in this novel is effective. It works. You’ll ask yourself “what the fuck!?” at least a dozen times but you’ll keep reading cause you’re hooked.

The only real complaint I have is that the book sometimes just felt unnecessarily long. This book didn’t hook me right off the bat. It was a very slow start for me. I was loving the first chapter and then things just slowed down right after that. I’d put down the book and it was hard for me to pick it back up again cause I just wasn’t invested. I pushed myself through the first 150 pages or so and then it started to pick up for me again. The whole middle part of the book had me turning page after page, and then the beginning slowed down again, and where it should’ve taken me a matter of hours to finish the book, it took me a couple of days. Normally it only takes me a few days to read a book, but this one turned into a couple of weeks.

And it wasn’t that the story was bad, or that the writing was bad, because it’s really not. It’s just that some of the slow bits in between almost felt like they didn’t really need to be there, and while I did like the characters, I didn’t really feel attached enough to them to really care too much to read the non-action scenes.

One thing I did really enjoy though was the humor in this book. Yeah, sure, a lot of it is dark, but isn’t that the whole point?

“He had accomplished quite a lot in his life, he decided. Not everybody had their own house, not everybody found their soulmate. He was comfortable. He had nine hundred and sixty-two TV channels and a Keurig. His dad was proud of him, as far as he could tell.”

I love the humor in this novel, and I also really loved all the pop culture references that had me geeking out like “Oh! Hey, I know that thing!”

“’We’re going to dinner there. They can’t violate guest right.’
‘Real life isn’t Game of Thrones, Wayne.’”

I hear that Malus Domestica is getting a sequel, and if you asked me if I would read it, I would tell you “yes”. If you can push through the sometimes overly descriptive lulls in the book, I promise you won’t be disappointed by the story it tells.


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