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Witch-Hunter #1

The Shadow Rises

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When a new witch threat rises, only Hunter Astley can stop them…

In the face of dark magic and evil witches, a secret witch-hunting society works tirelessly to keep them at bay. The Malleus Maleficarum Council have strict rules and practises for eradicating magic.
Due to their work, witches have been almost forgotten, relegated to myth; but rumours are starting to emerge of a new power that will throw the world into chaos.

As the only 7th generation witch-hunter, Hunter Astley is the best the MMC has to offer. With the help of his colleagues, it’s a race to track down this new threat and stop them… in any way he can.

249 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 3, 2013

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About the author

K.S. Marsden

19 books718 followers
Kelly S. Marsden grew up in Yorkshire, and there were two constants in her life - books and horses.
Graduating with an equine degree from Aberystwyth University, she has spent most of her life since trying to experience everything the horse world has to offer. She is currently settled into a Nutritionist role for a horse feed company in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
She writes Fantasy stories part-time. Her first book, The Shadow Rises (Witch-Hunter #1), was published in January 2013, and she now has several successful series under her belt.

Visit her blog for book reviews and inanity:
The Northern Witch's Book Blog

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 121 reviews
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 9, 2020
4.5 stars

"I'm one of the best witch-hunters out there, if I don't stop her, who will?"
Hunter Astley, witch-hunter extraordinaire, is about to experience his greatest challenge yet.

Hunter is a seventh-generation witch-hunter, which in and of itself is an extremely rare thing.
There are so few of us....there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of first gens. Only about half of these survive long enough to even have families.
And along with that lineage comes with certain...perks. He can see farther, fight better and move faster than anyone he knows.

And he will need all his strength for what lies ahead.
The witch jumped with surprise....She raised her arms and the shadow and firelight leapt up and formed two massive snarling beasts...
There's rumors circling that a Shadow Witch is rising in power - will Hunter and his friends (Sophie and James) be able to stop her? Or will they die trying?

I was pleasantly surprised by this one!

The Shadow Rises was a fast paced adventure, with enough twists and turns to leave me constantly wondering what could possibly happen next!

I loved the concept of the secret witch-hunter society and I definitely enjoyed puzzling out the mystery of of the Shadow Witch.

I thought the plot and the setting were well-developed though I did have a bit of a problem with "you-are-a-witch-you-must-be-evil" schtick. I would have liked to have a bit more backstory to why being a witch makes you automatically evil and whatnot.

Though, I have to admit, my absolute favorite part was the dynamic between Hunter and his mother.
This suited Hunter to have his mother seated as far away as possible, and he often employed the use of candelabras or a vase to block her from view completely.
There's just something about overbearingly snobby mothers that just gets me every time - they had a hugely enjoyable and hilarious dynamic throughout.

I'm really excited to see where this series goes!

With thanks to the author for free copy in exchange for an honest review.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for TeaAndBooks.
81 reviews94 followers
December 20, 2017

Firstly, a massive thank you to the wonderful K.S.Marsden who introduced me to this trilogy, wrote it and supplied me with a free eBook review copy of this book in exchange of an honest review!!

Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Originality: 5/5

I read James: witch-hunter (the prequel) before this book and fell in love with this trilogy straight away.

In contrast to the prequel, this story is from Hunter’s perspective. Hunter Astley is a 7th generation witch-hunter who works, with other witch-hunters at the Malleus Maleficarum Council.
Hunter is quite experienced but then the unexpected happens. People talk about a Shadow Witch and many assume its false or superstition. However, attacks soon take place and it is clear that this is a dark and evil force. Hunter and the other witch-hunters must be prepared.

I really enjoyed the plot twists as they were original and unique. The typical and overused plot line didn’t take place and this caused me to enjoy the book a lot. I also found the plot to seem realistic even though witches are far from the normal idea of realism. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if this story was happening right now as we speak!

In the prequel, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Hunter and I am so glad this novel was from his point-of-view as I re-evaluated my perspective him and I really like him now.

“Finally she spoke with a forced scepticism, “So… if those girls are witches, and I was the sacrifice - what does that make you?”
“A witch-hunter.”
She raised a brow, “A witch-hunter named ‘Hunter’? How very original.”
Hunter sighed, “You’re a very pleasant, friendly character, aren’t you?”

I loved how relatable the characters were and how well-developed they were! I love K.S. Marsden’s characters because they seem real and I can imagine seeing them in the real world, or what we see as the real world.

The writing style was perfect and I couldn’t stop reading it. Everything is so well described and I loved being able to learn so much about the witches!

This book was adventurous, action-packed, incredible and full of twists. I loved every bit, every word of this book and it is one of my favourite series I have ever read!

I would highly recommend this book to everyone and I hope everyone gives it a chance. It is spectacular and I’m waiting for more from this author as she is truly incredible!

Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
December 12, 2017
*Prequel review in series: James: Witch-Hunter

See this full review along with others on my blog at: shesgoingbookcrazy.com

I received this copy from the author, K.S. Marsden, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

#5 for the #MonthofMonstrosities tag!

After all, who'd be scared of a cat after facing lions!

Reading The Shadow Rises immediately after I finished James: Witch-Hunter was a good idea. It made me appreciate how much the writing grew in overall detail, depth, and execution. Not to mention, the main issue I had with the prequel was immediately squelched by the same characters in this book. While I didn't have a direct tie to the characters, they were much more relatable this time around.

The point-of-view shifts to be told by Hunter Ashley, a sort-of head honcho when it comes to the witch-hunting society, known as Malleus Maleficarum. A seventh generation witch-hunter, he's experienced quite a bit. But nothing will prepare him for what is to happen next. 

Talk of a Shadow witch is being passed around. At first, everyone thinks its superstition. Then, the attacks happen. 

Hunter, along with the rest of the witch-hunters must be on guard for this dark and powerful force. Now, the witches are hunting them.


Things I liked:

#1 The twists and turns are insatiable. It's not always easy to find a book with a good plot twist. Not to mention, one that completely blindsides the reader, and makes total sense. It was to my utter delight when I discovered that The Shadow Rises had a few major twists!


These were well thought out in the way they were written into the story.

#2 As I stated briefly before, the characters were much more relatable, and drew me in with their plights. Real issues and suspense replaced the frequent drinking and..."girling" around, making this read more tolerable for my tastes.

I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up liking Hunter's character a little bit because I found him so repelling in the prequel. Perhaps it was the issue he wound up finding himself in the end that made me have some sympathy for him. Either way, I was much more impressed with his character.

#3 Another issue I had with James: Witch-Hunter was the lack of information and page time for the witches. Well, that too, changes drastically. Right under the reader's nose. *Wink* 

Things I didn't like:

#1 Contrasting my first point of things that I liked (even loved) about the book, there was some predictability throughout the story. I think it's bound to happen in every story to some degree, but I wish a certain person would have been even more unsuspecting that they were made out to be.

#2 Again, with the girls. There was much improvement from the prequel, but it'd be nice to see more actual relationships...like what James is trying so badly to accomplish. (Poor guy!)


Overall, I thought this was a twisty, creative, and fast read. If you are a fan of witchy-type reads, this series might just be for you! I don't want to say too much in this review, for fear of giving anything away. It's too easy to reveal a spoiler because there's so much happening! I'm curious to see where this series will go!

Vulgarity: Some. 
Sexual content: While there isn't near the amount, there are some references it here and there. 
Violence: Moderate.

4 stars.
Profile Image for Merril Anil.
806 reviews72 followers
May 7, 2015
Spell bound by the witches

First of all a huge thanks to the author and the next novel team for introducing me to this wonderful series and for providing me with the copy of the book and secondly a huge hug for writing this book, which has not only floored me completely but have also left me craving for its sequels. The book has escalated to "my all time favorite trilogy" shelf

The shadow rises, true to its theme, did indeed cast its spell on me and I was completely hooked to the book from its very introductory page to the end without dropping the intrigue level.

There are rarely any books, in my experience, that makes you say “oh this is so going to be my favorite” from mere three sentences of its opening chapter and this book was one of it.

The master element in the success of this book, according to me, has to be the velvety narration. The language was simply marvelous. Pure velvet in execution. It runs flawlessly, conveying everything vividly and perfectly with no unnecessary or irrelevant piles of data or hovering over “how one is feeling” aka emotions and feelings. It is crisp, to the point and yet detailed enough to make you absorb the story.

The plot is good. Even Though the initial twists and turns were fairly predictable, there was a particular turn in the story that caught even me by surprise since I was not expecting it and because of that alone I would like to give the author a loud applaud because you made me actually say “ wait what?.... rewind that for me again”.

The book scores with simplicity yet standing way far from the usual witchery tales. A brilliant language and storytelling skill makes this a fun and enjoyable read. It is fast, gripping, and short and sweet with every ingredient mixed perfectly. I can’t wait for its sequels, not because the author left a huge cliff hanger, but simply because I am in love with the author’s story telling magic.

How was it ?


Profile Image for Trey Stone.
Author 5 books166 followers
September 9, 2020
Hunter Astely – witch hunter extraordinaire – is the best at what he does: hunting witches and keeping humanity safe. It’s not by choice however, it’s his heritage.

When he saves a young girl from a pack of witches in Italy, his life is turned upside down when she demands to be brought into the fray and trained to be a witch hunter herself – as his apprentice.

This book was surprisingly good. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s damn gripping. It reminds me a lot of Buffy and Angel, two shows that I both loved when I was younger and which I find myself really wanting to watch again now.

I felt like the book maybe fumbled a bit in the beginning, starting out on unsteady legs, but as soon as it found its footing it was awesome. Cool characters, great pace and a very intriguing plot. Also, Marsden does a great job at setting up the rest of the series. I’m intrigued!

If you want a fun, captivating witch-hunting mystery that isn’t too long, look no further than this! Chances are you’ll love the characters as well.
Profile Image for Rose English.
Author 21 books174 followers
December 29, 2019
Book 75 of my Goodreads Challenge 2019 Was the Audio Book of The Shadow Rises 8th August 2019 The narration brings this story to life. I am not normally a fan of audiobooks, as I like to imagine in my mind what each character would sound and look like. However, being a big fan of this author especially 'The Witch-Hunter Series' (of which I have the full printed collection) I could not resist giving this audiobook a go, and I can tell you now this book blew me away. The narrator does an amazing job.

Book 72 of my Goodreads Challenge

I simply had to re-read this trilogy before reading James Witch-Hunter the prequel and I can tell you it is as wonderful and as exciting as the first time I read it. Very Highly Recommended.

I have left the original review here too. Originally read in May 2015

#IndieRoar Challenge Day 1 The handsome hunter & the hunted.

I started reading this as a challenge for Indie Books Be Seen on Social Media. They support & promote independent authors. Being a FREE download I didn't really expect a great deal. I generally like a printed book and I am afraid for some reason the cover didn't immediately appeal. I read the blurb and was tempted inside.

Well I was hooked from the start, drawn into the night-time setting of Venice with lights sparkling across the canal. Then being introduced to the enigmatic, charming English gentleman, Hunter Astley, seventh generation Witch-Hunter. Tall dark & handsome with classic good looks, he is the dream of many a young woman, all seemingly attracted to him, but not the the tall pretty brown haired girl. Her hazel eyes had locked on Hunter for the briefest of moments. Then she turned away, obviously dissatisfied with what she saw. Her loss. Or would things turn out differently in the long run?

It's difficult to give a review and not give anything away, so I will say little else, just that I was hooked. I read the whole book in two sittings. Hunter was a character I could not help but love, he had me in a swoon that's for sure. His trusty friend & sidekick 1st generation but highly intelligent Yorkshire man James, was amusing but sometimes a little annoying with his accent. The two friends devoted to one another although this did surprise me considering all they endured. Especially in the company of Sophie new Witch-Hunter in training.

A fascinating story I simply could not put down. I thought it might be a little predictable? In some things it was and then in others I was twisted around by events, several I never saw coming. Well I'm off to start Book 2 'The Shadow Reigns'. I'll be back soon to let you know what I think of it.

In the meantime if you fancy a little witchy story, the handsome hunter & the hunted, why not pick up or download a copy? I highly recommend it, but don't just take my word for it. Go try it for yourself. Happy Reading :-)
Profile Image for Rupali Rotti.
Author 2 books8 followers
May 13, 2014
I liked this book. Horror is a genre where a lot of atmosphere building is needed to pull the reader in. Though the first few chapters weren't a puller, the overall story is brilliant. The author must be commended for that. The story is as intriguing as it is entertaining. I liked the characters a lot and the events that happen were mesmerizing. Interest is built up starting, I think, chapter 4. And half way through the book, I just couldn't stop reading and read all through the night. The suspense, the tension, the thrill was captured pretty well.

Also, the conflicts and motivations of the characters are presented very well.

However, the book could have done with a good editor. There are quite a few grammatical mistakes in the beginning and the end of the book, but a good part (the meat of the story, you can say)has better grammar. I'm specifically mentioning this, because when I started reading, the very first sentence had grammatical mistake and I was kind of put off by it. But, don't keep the book down, because if you continue reading, it gets better and when you finally finish the book, you'll be happy you kept reading. :-)

I also thought the end was a bit abrupt. Even though the threat is neutralized, everybody's happy, a lot of things still needed a 'closure' of sorts.

Overall, a good book. Worth a read.
Profile Image for Jonel.
1,717 reviews315 followers
August 20, 2013
Marsden has a very straightforward writing style that keeps the characters and the action in your face throughout this rather intense novella. It is a very well edited and put together novella that takes you on quite a wild ride. Marsden presents her storyline in a manner that is easy to follow. She fills in lots of background information without breaking this flow. She is also very good at marking the passage of time without the reader feeling left behind.

Not only is this one of the few times I can remember seeing witch hunters as the good guys in fictional literature, it is the only time outside of academia that I have ever seen the Malleus Maleficarum used correctly. A huge kudos to the author on that front. Lots of research went behind this lovely novella.

The main characters in this story are quite well developed for a novella. You actually get to know them much better than some characters in full length novels. They are all quite well suited to their role in the story. I also appreciate the supporting cast of characters. they bring a very well rounded feeling to the story.

Overall this is a dense but very enjoyable read. The author leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction at the end, while still wanting more.

Please note that I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Colleen Chesebro.
Author 12 books71 followers
November 27, 2019
The time has arrived! Persecuted witches are ready to take a stand against the witch hunters through the most powerful witch of all – The Shadow Witch. In an “unusual” twist, in this book, the witches are the bad guys and the witch hunters are the heroes. Pretty scary if you ask me!

To begin, George “Hunter” Astley finds himself on a reluctant holiday in Venice where he witnesses the attempted murder of Sophie Murphy, by a trio of witches.

Hunter is a seventh-generation witch hunter who works for the MMC – (Malleus Maleficarum Council) where he has the power to apprehend, bind, and kill witches who practice their craft.

Back in England, Sophie tracks Hunter down because she wishes to join the ranks of the witch hunters. Once accepted, she trains with Hunter’s mentor, Brian Lloyd. When Brian dies in a house explosion, Sophie returns to Hunter’s side to continue her education.

Hunter and Sophie fight their attraction to each other for as long as they can, finally succumbing to their desire.

By Halloween, the tensions between the witches and the witch hunters hit a crescendo. When Sophie is possessed by the evil Shadow Witch, she reveals that someone he loves will die. Hunter now fears for Sophie’s life.

With the deaths of many more witch hunters, Hunter vows revenge. Suddenly, the MMC is attacked and eventually the building is destroyed. Chaos ensues, and the witch hunter’s destinies are at stake.

The evilest of witches has once again come into power. Hunter can’t believe the Shadow Witch returned. His grandfather killed her in the 1940s. Yet, everything points to her as the culprit.

Who will win? What becomes of Hunter and Sophie’s love for each other? That and many other mysteries will be revealed in this FREE first book in the series.

This was an excellent read—definitely not a cozy mystery! There were plenty of twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat. Be prepared as the book ends with unresolved questions. I’ll look for Hunter and Sophie’s relationship to be explored further in the subsequent books. I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Profile Image for BookLoversLife.
1,801 reviews9 followers
May 14, 2018
Hunter is a 7th generation witch hunter for the Malleus Maleficarum Council. Most witch hunters are only 3rd or 4th generation so Hunter is a bit of an anomaly. When he comes across two witches trying to sacrifice a woman for their magic, he saves her and ends up recruiting her to the life. She is apprenticed to a witch hunter, but when he is killed and Hunter hears whispers that the Shadow Witch is rising again and has her sites set on the woman he saved, he has to team up with Sophie to find the Witch before she becomes all powerful.

Every so often you open a book with no expectations at all, you hope said book will entertain you but that's about it. But said book does more than entertain you!! It enthralls you, grips you and just about blows you away. Well this is what happened here!! I had no idea what to expect when I started, but I know I didn't expect to fall in love with the world the author created. It was fantastic!!

I loved the plot. Usually the witch hunters are portrayed as bad guys, but here they are the good guys. To them, all magic is bad and witches are to be stopped. I also loved how they stopped the witches, which I won't say here because I'd consider it a spoiler ;) The whole plot was fast paced, entertaining and amazing. The author not only created a fascinating world, but they managed to throw a few extreme curve balls into the mix and had me gasping out loud because I did not see it coming!!!

The characters were all well developed. It took me a little while to warm to Hunter, but he grew on me! I loved seeing him interact with Sophie and seeing their relationship grow. I'm really looking forward to seeing where the author takes the story!!!

In all, this was an awesome read. Reading it was like finding the diamond in the rough!!! I hope book 2 comes to audio soon as I'm dying to see what happens next.

Jonathan Ip read this really well. He was easy to listen to and had plenty of tones and voices to bring the story to life. I really enjoyed his performance.

I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. This in no way affected nor influenced my thoughts.
580 reviews10 followers
May 3, 2019
This is a great book! Hunter Astley is a 7th gen witch hunter. Most witch hunters are 1st to 3rd gen, so he’s pretty special. While he’s supposed to be on vacation he rescues Sophie from witches who were going to sacrifice her for their magic. She’s grateful but cold and aloof so he goes home and doesn’t think anything of it. But then she shows up at his door a couple months later and wants to become a witch hunter. In the meantime, a dark power is rising and it will take everything the witch hunters have to stop it.

I really enjoyed this story. The characters are great and it’s well written there are twists and turns that I didn’t see coming! I can’t wait to read the next book! I really like the dynamic between Hunter and Sophie as their relationship grew. I also found it really interesting how witch hunters gain powers that are stronger with each generation. I’m very curious to see how Hunter’s powers develop in the next book.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy involving witches. I haven’t read any other book quite like it, so it’s definitely worth picking up!

I received a free copy of The Shadow Rises from the author and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.
Profile Image for Saundra Wright.
1,809 reviews5 followers
April 15, 2018
In a world where no witch is allowed to practice magic, they must agree to have their powers bound, face prison, or death, Hunter, as a seventh generation witch hunter is perhaps the most powerful witch hunter in the world, with incredible powers to fight the witches. When the Shadow Witch, a witch with magic unlimited, arises, will Hunter have the power to defeat her? The story is filled with unexpected twists and treachery with plenty of time along the way to ponder which side is truly wicked. Not your typical witch story! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Laura Martinez.
1,450 reviews25 followers
September 22, 2019
The Shadow Rises is a book about witches and hunters. Hunter Astley, is a 7th Generation witch and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audiobook. I actually found myself enjoying the other characters in this book.
It was a pretty good pace and it was filled with twists and turns. I know I had a couple of loud *gasps* moment while listening. I was caught aback.
The narrator did a great job and kept my attention while I listened. I really enjoyed the accent. 😍
Profile Image for Debbie Eyre.
3,998 reviews59 followers
July 24, 2019
I love a good witchy read and this is a great one! Well written this war between witches and witch hunters is filled with twists and turns, action, adventure, mystery and intrigue , destruction and chaos, great characters and a storyline that will just grab you and I cannot wait to see where the story takes us!
Profile Image for Cassandra.
1,192 reviews105 followers
March 25, 2013
My Thoughts - 3 out of 5 stars - I liked it!

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. I did not connect well with this book, and it has everything to do with me not the writer. It is well written and a good story, but I have a problem with all witches being bad, evil, and power hungry (too much like racism or bigotry). I guess I like an even mix of good and evil. I think this caused the disconnect for me, and I had no problem putting the book down because of this. The ending sort of left you hanging, and I haven’t seen anything indicating that this is a series. I would definitely read the next book if it is a series to know what happens next because I think it has possibilities. :)

**received the book free from the Making Connections group for an honest review
105 reviews42 followers
October 25, 2014
*free copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review. *
A really nice book! I wouldn't exactly call it a page tuner but the idea behind it was really original and jaw dropping. The book moved too slow for my taste but I still enjoyed it! The writing style was simple and straightforward. The characters were beautifully described!

OverAll a wonderful job by the author. This book is definitely going somewhere!
167 reviews5 followers
November 4, 2019
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. Thank you, K.S. Marsden for a delightful read.
I really enjoy this story take on the relationship between the witches and the witch-hunters. The Witch-Hunter’s protect society from evil magic over generations (eradicate witches no matter if good or bad). This book picks up with the life of the 7th Generation, Hunter Astley. Although he is wealthy, powerful (even more than he knows) and loyal, he is also humble and a little naïve. His fellow witch hunters seem to be a tad jealous and mistrustful of him at times; however, the younger generations, especially his apprentice James treats him very much like a friend and mentor.
The witches have been attacking civilians because they are fed up with being prosecuted for being witches and have decided to fight back. During Hunter’s vacation he foils a kidnapping of a young lady named Sophie. After being rescued by Hunter, Sophie decides to join the witch hunter council, and this is where the action begins. You see there is a dark shadow rising and although Hunter is powerful, he and his fellow witch-hunters will need all the help they can get.
The story has lots of intrigue, deception, twists and turns, love, heart break and comedy (Yes comedy). James is a lovable character while Hunter is very serious most of the time. Hunter’s interactions with James, Charlotte, Sophie, his mother and the other witch hunter will piss you off as well as have you laughing and crying. This book will keep you guessing for sure.
Given that this was the first of the series, I want to thank the author for taking the time to conduct and relay the research of the paranormal. It pulls you right into the world of the Witch-Hunter and doesn’t let go not even at the end. I expect further development of the characters and their back stories including how the witch hunters came to be. I also look forward to more of James, Sophie and Hunter’s relationship. I’m still not sure who’s side I’m on.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,310 reviews213 followers
August 30, 2019
There’s a society of witch-hunters and Hunter (not his real name) is probably the best at what he does. He’s got money, the looks, and the skill. I mean, he’s almost like James Bond of the supernatural world. A girl he once saved from the clutches of the evil witch wants to join witch-hunters. A tragic turn of events makes him accept her as his apprentice. In the meantime, the evil raises and things get trickier than ever.

I liked the story and the concept. Everyone needs a good popcorn read from time to time, and the Shadow Rises mostly succeeds at offering high-octane, if slightly predictable, fun. Some action scenes and suspenseful moments are drawn out appropriately, but then a key piece of exposition or character development may be glossed over, or opportunities for those moments are missed. Both main and secondary characters have some distinct traits but, in general, remain underdeveloped and flat.

The writing itself could use a bit of a polish, particularly in the structure of the sentences and establishing POV and keeping it. Long stretches of simplistic phrases make the story accessible and easy to follow, but also remove the suspense or tension building in the story.

Despite many weak spots in the writing and the lack of more depth to the storyline and characters, Mardsen succeeds at creating an interesting blend of reality and fantasy. She explores the concepts of loyalty, individuality, and difficult choices and offers some unpretentious fun. As long as you approach it as a fast pulp read, you should appreciate at least parts of the story.
Profile Image for Lana.
2,176 reviews44 followers
August 27, 2018
I must admit that I was very apprehensive at the beginning of this book because I love witches and all things magical and cannot abide stories about witch hunters, in fact I hate these with a vengeance! However as I really enjoy books written by Kelly Marsden I wanted to give the book a chance and I was not disappointed as this turned out to be a very unusual witch hunter story in that things take a very different twist to what is expected. Also Hunter and James are not as evil as the rest of the witch hunters who work for the council. Sophie is saved by Hunter during a holiday in Venice and she joins the witch hunting team however things are not what they seem. The book managed to keep me completely enthralled as there is love, and loyalty, mystery and magic in the book. The protagonists both believe in their own stand regarding magic and witchcraft so they are on opposite sides in the battle which ensues but they are linked by something which is bigger than either of them individually! I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series now as I love the way the story is unfolding as well as the main characters of the book and I am still routing for the witches, so I do hope I will not be disappointed as witches are not evil but have always been misunderstood!
Profile Image for Carol 27.
902 reviews
April 29, 2019
This is a very entertaining tale about a secret society of witch-hunters who work to eliminate black magic and prevent witches from gaining power over humans. We meet Hunter Astley, a 7th generation witch-hunter and his side-kick James Bennett, the researcher of their team. I enjoyed their interactions as they went about the day-to-day business of tracking down and capturing witches. When surprise attacks bring chaos and destruction, the witch-hunters realize they’re dealing with a powerful entity with limitless magic. As the battle for world domination begins, will Hunter have the necessary skills to take up the gauntlet and lead the charge against the witches? Maybe – if the rumours of his ancestry are to be believed. This is a well written story with interesting and well-defined characters. The plot is well-paced with plenty of drama, intrigue, suspense, and action along with a couple of twists I hadn’t anticipated. I look forward to the continuation of this story in The Shadow Reigns.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
1,187 reviews5 followers
April 24, 2019
Hunter, a 7th level witch hunter saves Sophie from being a sacrifice to witches. The act sets off a series of increasing disturbing events. Sophie show up to train as a hunter and through a devastating event, ends up training with Hunter. Meanwhile, disturbing magic related events are on the rise and the worst fears come with the possibly of the rise of the shadow witch. While trying to get a handle on things, Hunter loses his first love, bring Sophie and him closer. Things go from bad to worse with deceptions, betrayals, chaos and the world wide collapse of the hunters system. This book has it all, action, love interests, twists and turns, that keep the reader interested and looking for what’s next. If you want to be entertained, this book is for you.
Profile Image for Wilmar Luna.
Author 4 books29 followers
August 13, 2015
(Normally I don’t like to add these little disclaimers but I have to make an exception for this review because the author has helped me by participating in beta reads and reviewing my work. I am now here to return the favor. So yes, I have received this book for free but this does not influence my honest opinion of how I felt reading it.)

When I first heard about the Shadow Rises, it was actually through having K.S. Marsden participate in my beta read for my book series The Silver Ninja. We exchanged messages and I saw, “Book 1 The Shadow Rises coming soon.” Out of sheer curiosity, I followed the links and was greeted with a fascinating premise. Witches are real and the witch-hunters (MMC) need to stop them. Oh, and the covers to her books are really awesome.

I was originally hesitant to request a copy to review this book because Marsden had already reviewed my work and I am brutally honest with my opinions which some people don’t receive well.

Thankfully after I finished reading book one of the Witch-Hunter series, I am pleased to say that there will be no one-star reviews here. It was an immensely enjoyable read. HOWEVER! I will say that though this book is wonderful, there were some technical issues that prevented me from giving it a full five star rating. Call me psychic, but I know the author will improve these issues with each new release.

So let’s start with the bad and work our way to the good, yeah?

First off, Hunter, James, Sophie, and the Shadow Witch are the main characters we follow in this series. They’re fun, they have personality, they made me laugh, they’re extremely likeable, but something wasn’t quite right. I felt that they were hollow. Weird huh? The problem is and this is something that plagues the entire book, is that there’s not enough world and character building.

Since the chapters are so short and the plot moves so quickly, we don’t really get time to get to know these characters. I never really got to -know- Hunter or James. I was expecting stories from the MMC, pranks they pulled together, something that gave these characters history and depth that was more than just James never listens to me. I couldn’t visualize them in my head or see what they looked like with the exception of Sophie.

Of all the characters, Sophie was my favorite. Maybe I like a cold bitch or maybe she was just well thought out. Sophie has what many female protagonists lack in these books and that’s agency. She wants what she wants and she will do anything to get it, even if it means pissing off James and frustrating the hell out of Hunter. She’s an excellent character.

Her awesomeness unfortunately takes away from the romance that develops between her and Hunter. For some reason I just wasn’t convinced that the two were falling or had fallen in love. It was missing those little tender moments where they held hands or his arm draped across her shoulder. Just something that showed a love that was growing between the two.

Though I wasn’t sold on the relationship or the crazy worldwide event that happens in this book. I am convinced that Marsden has some serious writing chops. Her descriptions of magic were spectacular and made an entirely fictional force feel real and believable. The words she used to describe spells gave them weight and power and really conjured images of powerful bolts of magic being flung by the evil witches.

Where the book started to stumble a little bit was when a catastrophic world wide event takes place. Supposedly, the world falls into disarray after this event but the descriptions used didn’t really convey that. Instead of seeing looters scavenging through stores, cars turned over and on fire, blacked out city lights, we’re told “the world fell into chaos.”

I wanted more. More detail, more world building (which is weird because I usually hate too much world building), more character depth, more showing and not telling. These are the flaws that hold this book back but don’t let that discourage you from reading. The Shadow Rises is a real gem that shows a talented indie author in the making.

So now let’s get to the good parts!

Where it lacked in depth, it made up for in story. Every end of a chapter had a wonderful hook that made it difficult for me to put down. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next but I would often fall asleep on my bed forgetting that I was trying to finish the next chapter. Since the pacing is so fast and the chapters so short, it’s easy to think that you can read just one more chapter before bed.

Again, the characters, the wonderful characters. You really come to love and enjoy these people which is why I had wanted more of their history. They were so interesting and so charming and so memorable that I loved reading about them. The plot left me guessing at every turn and when Marsden revealed a plot twist ace up her sleeve, my jaw dropped. I was literally staring at the text going, “No way. NO WAY! Did she really just go there?”


Is there magic? Yes.

Is there action? Yes.

Is there a bit of romance? Yes.

Essentially, what the book does well it does remarkably well which allows me to overlook the handful of typos and prose that needed a bit more punch added to it.

If you like great characters and a plot that keeps you hooked until the very end, then I can definitely recommend you pick up The Shadow Rises. I cannot wait to see what book two has in store for me!
Profile Image for Rose English.
Author 21 books174 followers
December 29, 2019
Book 52 of my Goodreads Challenge 2019

I absolutely adore this book series and re-read book 1 everytime a new book is coming out.

Because I've read this so many times it does not seem to want to let me review the print editions. However, I own all the books in print and most are signed by the author. To who I say a very big THANK YOU.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,392 reviews4 followers
April 23, 2018
The characters are interesting and full of life. Good amount of plot twists as well. If you're a fan of paranormal stories with witches then this is a book you'll want to devour!

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Rachel.
160 reviews1 follower
March 27, 2019
A good story, with a different take on witches. The writing style i found was quite detached and clinical but did not detract from the story. I am uncertain if this was intended by the author or not. Either way I will look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Michelle.
169 reviews
April 30, 2019
Anyone who enjoys stories involving witches…the real kind in fiction, not the silly or sweet and innocent…will like this series. The witches are finally tired of being chased down by witch hunters and being persecuted for being who they are, and the most powerful witch, “The Shadow”, rises again to free her people. The story has some unexpected twists and turns to it and finally reaches a big climax near the end regarding more than one thing. You sort of get a finality to the main build-up, but there are some things left unresolved as a cliffhanger. If you wanted to stop here, you would get sort of an ending you need, but one obviously needs to read the rest of the series for it all. The way this book builds things up, I get the feeling it will get pretty intense later in the series.
October 26, 2019
Smart, original, and interesting!! I loved this audiobook. Definitely a series that I can get into!! And I can't wait to read the next book. And I really hope that K.S Marsden continues writing for this series. (I really hope I get to review the next book!) The narration was also very well done. I highly recommend this book!!

This Book was given to me at my request. I am providing a voluntary review.
Profile Image for Amy Lou.
144 reviews108 followers
February 10, 2015


Goodreads | Website

The world is full of witches. There is no line between good and evil. Witches are accused as evil, just for being what they are. Witch hunters dedicate their lives to tracking down and subduing—or killing—witches.

It's an interesting concept. Witches in this novel are seen as a pariah. A virus that has to be either removed of its power or destroyed. I could see from the start that this whole concept would be flipped on its ass. Because, not everyone is inherently evil, or inherently good. There are many shades of grey. And, there has to be a point where people will stop and question why? What if they get to know a witch and realise they aren't as evil as they're made out to be?

Well, this is what happens.

I liked this story for its individuality. The flow was good, the characters decent. I liked their interaction. I liked the mystery. It had a unique flair to it that kept you interested.

The twist was pretty obvious to me and I worked it out fairly early on, but that didn't draw away from the intrigue of the novel, though I would have liked to have been stunned by the truth. I wasn't. But it was still a good novel. It was well edited, the cover is really striking, with the face mixed up in shades of crumbling brown, green and yellow.

I liked how the author paid attention to Yorkshire lingo. It wasn't forced, and the accents were believable. I could hear it in their words when I read their dialogue.

My favourite moment by far—slight spoiler alert here—is the transporting of the soldiers. Teleporting, is it? It was very interesting, and I loved that. Especially because the teleporter forgets to put on shoes first time round. Oops.

If you like gritty, mysterious novels with witches—a novel that's main essence is to question the moral right of killing or controlling a species because it is seen as only one thing: an evil presence on the earth—then you will enjoy this novel. It questions whether it is right to pigeonhole a group of people just for being what they are. To paint them with the same brush. I liked it.

- 3/5

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