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~Prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy~

James Bennett is a Yorkshire lad, making the big move to Oxford to start university.
His ambitions involve getting a good education; impressing the Rugby Club; and not throttling his roommate. All perfectly normal drama, until Hallowe'en.

A girl's murder throws James into the dangerous world of witches, and those that hunt them.

After playing a sidekick in the Witch-Hunter trilogy, it's only fair that James gets to be centre stage in his own prequel.
This can be read as a stand-alone, and does not contain any spoilers. It may contain witches, bad jokes and cringe-worthy scenes; but definitely no spoilers.

278 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2017

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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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5 stars
16 (40%)
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17 (42%)
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4 (10%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews
Profile Image for Sheila G.
506 reviews97 followers
October 28, 2017
This full review can be viewed 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!

#4 for the #MonthofMonstrosities tag!

There is a darker side of Oxford than meets the eye, one where covens of powerful witches practice inhumane rituals in order to grow their power. Emotionless, self-centered beings, they are a danger to all of society--in particular, anyone that's human. 

James knew nothing of the witches' existence. At least, not until he witnessed an acquaintance being ritualistically sacrificed by a couple of the hooded figures. Stunned by the event, James discovers that his unpleasant college roommate happens to be a part of a witch-hunting ring of families that can be traced back for generations. Thrust into a world of the magic-wielding enemies, James must choose if he will fight against these evil-doers, or run.

James: Witch-Hunter is the prequel story to the Witch Hunter series.

Things that I liked:

#1 This may sound but I tend to dislike male characters written by female writers. This is only because they end up sounding more feminine than masculine, and it messes up my mental depiction of the character. I'm glad to say that this is not the case with Marsden's male characters. Even though we never get extremely in-depth with the characters due to the length of the book, the picture the reader is privy to is accurate, effective, and appropriate for the story being told. 

#2 The book retains a sense of fluidity throughout its events. Everything stays focused on the issue of the story, and makes for an easy read.

Things that I didn't like:

#1 Even though I thought the depiction of the characters was done appropriately, I still lacked a sense of connection to them. Perhaps it was simply due to the fact that I'm not used to reading books with male protagonists (at least lately) and that I feel less of that. It wasn't a point that really got under my skin, but I felt that it was worth mentioning because it made me feel more indifferent to the characters and their stories.

#2 The overwhelming presence of alcohol simply became annoying. Yeah, I get it. These are college kids who want to "take the edge off of their days," but it became monotonous to read about every time the characters must have a drink in their hands to enjoy themselves. 

#3 I would have liked a little more time with the witches themselves. Many times the reader is told just how terrible these people are. But, I think some further demonstrations and peaks into their daily lives would have helped to reveal their cruelty further. 

Overall, this was a good read. It didn't overwhelm, or underwhelm me as a reader. It read smoothly, and indeed had some interesting points. I'm just looking for more connection to the characters in future books of this series. 

Vulgarity: Quite a bit.
Sexual content: A lot of the plot lighted on Hunter's many sexual exploits, but nothing was ever in detail.
Violence: Moderate, including human sacrifice.

3 stars.
Profile Image for TeaAndBooks.
81 reviews94 followers
November 29, 2017
I received an eBook copy of this book from K.S. Marsden.

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

I am so grateful to have received a copy of this as I enjoyed it so much! We follow the story of James, a boy who is starting his first year at Oxford University. He is the main character and meets Hunter, his irritable roommate. Initially, the relationship between Hunter and James is tense and we can literally feel the animosity between them!

The story takes a dramatic twist when, on the night of Halloween, a girl is murdered. However, this was not the average story and it takes a unique twist. James is suddenly and instantaneously thrown into a world different to his own. He is soon forced to face witches in a way we have never seen them before and magic which encaptivates the reader. James will need to fight to survive and kill to live. James is now a witch-hunter.

The thing that really made me love this story was how realistic it seemed! I was so happy to read an almost realistic take on magic and I can guarantee that I will be reading the rest of the books in this incredible series!

Overall, a great read and I would recommend this to everyone! Please go and read this story as it would definitely be worth your time!

Profile Image for Tiffany Murphy.
468 reviews68 followers
February 1, 2018

When James Bennett leaves Yorkshire for Oxford University, his only goals are to get a good education and impress the rugby team. Shortly after arriving, he adds throttling his roommate to his list of very normal goals. Nothing seems out of the ordinary until Halloween, when he witnesses his friend, Bea being murdered under extremely unusual circumstances, pulling him into the world of witch hunting.

James: Witch-Hunter is a prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy by K.S. Marsden and it was incredibly interesting. What I enjoyed most about the characters is that none of them were perfect, they all had flaws which made them more interesting. For instance, James seems a bit shallow and Hunter is a bit spoiled. The storyline had enough action to keep me interested from beginning to end. Charlotte was my favorite character out of all of them, but it was a bit annoying the way the Young and the rest of the council acted like she couldn't do anything because she was a girl. I'd love to see her really kick butt in the trilogy books (which I'll definitely be reading now, lol). All in all, this was a great introduction to the series and to Marsden's writing, for me, and I can't wait to read more!
Profile Image for Ayla.
1,006 reviews29 followers
January 31, 2018
First I would like to thank the author for sharing this with Read it & Reap for exchange of an honest review.

I have read the trilogy that this novel is the prequel to and find it to flow reasonably well with the theme of the stories. The story here is about how James Bennett become friends with Hunter Astley and Charlotte Summers. We see more of how clever James really is and how he became a true and trusted friend to Hunter. This story can be read as a stand alone as it is contained only to this time frame and makes no innuendos to what happens in the other books. The Writing is always interesting and well formed, I noticed only a typo here or there much better than in previous books. I loved the owt and nowt Yorkshire vernacular of James, I would love to hear this in an audio book would bring more substance and humor to the novel.

James is such a bad boy, all that stealing cars hacking into computer systems, picking locks, stuff he did as a kid now has come into use as a member of the MMC. Though he promised the judge to fly straight, work his butt off and got a scholarship into Uni, he still has to break a few rules to keep the world save from Witches who are power hungry and want to kill him...

I literally read this book in 2 sittings it was fun and interesting and I enjoyed the musical references to a band I never heard of Biffy Clyro (which is on my list of bands I like now) and Kings of Leon which I knew of and liked. It helps to put a normalcy to the story. Also I feel that this would be a book that guys might like with all the Rugby and sharing of pints and Jagerbombs!

I have to admit that Dervla( which I gather is Irish and means daughter of the poet) was just too nice to James, and I thought she was up to something even thought she might be a witch, which by the end my suspicion was confirmed. And it was nice to meet Young, Hunters's father if only for a short time and Uncle Bri, as we see in further novels who ends up training both Hunter and James.

Some of the things such as bindings and Hunters senses and abilities are themes that are contingent to the other books that helps to keep the series unified. These things make the reading pleasant as with visiting loved and dear quirky friends you would feel amiss if their personality were altered. I really enjoyed some of the of the little scenes such as Laura coming up at the wrong times when James was with a lovely girl like Danielle or Dervla. Poor James always giving the wrong impression to poor Laura ( Sarah, lol). Or James waking up in a cell in a dress with sunflowers....

I would definitely read more from Ms Marsden, and I would find that younger crowds 16 and up would enjoy her writing also. Plus call me a bit of an anglophile, but I find it fun to try to convert terms like hoover for vacuum, and chelsea tractors for suv . Broadens ones vocabulary, you might say..

Profile Image for Amy Leigh.
327 reviews38 followers
March 24, 2018
James is attending Oxford and he's always been a normal guy with a normal life until his roommate Hunter comes into his life. James accidentally witnessed a ritual sacrifice and realizes that his roomie is actually a witch hunter. The more he learns about this hidden world the more he wonders if he should get involved.

This is the prequel to Marsden's series in which we get a great look at James before he becomes a very different character. I love prequels because they extend the life of characters and make them blossom even more. I appreciated Marsden's writing style and would like to read more!

This book was given to me by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Rose English.
Author 21 books174 followers
October 12, 2017
Book 71 of my Goodreads Challenge

I have been dying to read this since I saw a sample of the book before it was even published. The cover simply grabbed me, so striking and clearly links in with the whole Witch-Hunter Series of which I am a BIG FAN.

This is the story of James a young Yorkshire lad who has earned his place at Oxford University by sheer hard work and determination. I was intrigued to find out about his background after reading other books in the series and I can tell you I was not disappointed. We learn so much about this comedic character who can talk for England he hardly ever shuts up to take a breath. He is a truly likeable person who makes friends easily unless of course you are a stuck up, pompous ass, a rich kid from a privileged background like Hunter Astley his roommate. I would never have guessed James' background and I do not want to mention anything you will just have to read it for yourself.

The story is for me very believable with great characters besides James. I liked Hunter's father, not too keen on the snobby mother though. Charlotte is lovely, a young strong woman studying law who becomes a good friend to James and it appears another love interest to the womanising Hunter. I must admit to taking a bit of a dislike to Hunter at first, the way he treats James but I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt after reading 'Shadow Rises' Book 1 in the Witch Hunter Series (currently FREE to download link is below). When we meet him in that story well what can I say but "Swoon" he is the handsome, enigmatic English gent and I fell instantly in love with him in that tale.

Both books are VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED I am now after signed copies of the other two books in the series.

A simple warning just be very wary of exceptionally beautiful women they may turn out to be highly dangerous witches. Happy Reading.

Profile Image for Rae Else.
Author 13 books81 followers
November 27, 2017
K. S. Masden’s Witch Hunter series has been on my TBR list for a while so I was very much looking forward to delving into this book. And, it didn’t disappoint!


James: Witch Hunter is a prequel story to the Witch Hunter series, which can be read before or after the main series. Right away I warmed to James, the main character, who we see on his first day at Oxford University. He is a very down-to-earth, likable guy. I really enjoyed watching James, the Yorkshire lad, mingle with the rather more affluent and, often uptight, Southerners. There was plenty of conflict and comedy value here, and it really brought out James' easy-going and fun-loving nature.


The real story gets started when James starts spying on his haughty, aristocratic roommate, Hunter. There is great conflict between these two characters. James finds himself swept up into Hunter's world of witch-hunting and the two guys who seemed to be from two completely different worlds, (lol, they were, i.e. the one with witches and the one without), find themselves forming an unexpected friendship. Alongside this, there is the fancy backdrop of Hunter's family, with lots of ancient witch-hunting heritage, as well as a secret witch-hunting council to delve into...and, of course, witches! What's not to like!


I really enjoyed James and Hunter's escapades in witch-hunting. I think the only thing I would have liked to see more of were the witches. Although there were a few fights with them throughout the novel, I found the final showdown a little short. But, I guess that kept me wanting more, and I will definitely be reading the series to get both my witch-hunter...and witchy fix.
Profile Image for Sue Plant.
1,513 reviews18 followers
December 10, 2017
would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

james is a normal working class lad starting uni and shares his rooms with hunter who comes from a very different background and who also doesnt come across very friendly...

hunter it seems comes from a long line of witch hunters which james just happens to stumble across..
the concept of the story is very interesting but i feel this story was written for teenages as i felt at times there was not enough substance and kept jumping around quite a bit...

that said it is about james and his background story so maybe the rest of the stories will hopefully have more substance to them
Profile Image for Cornelia.
589 reviews15 followers
January 26, 2018
*** copy received in exchange for an honest review ***

James is young man starting Uni well he just entered Oxford. he hopes to have the best of time while there. There is one major roadblock. His room mate, Hunter.
Hunter jumped him the for time they saw each other, he is very secretive.
After the death of a young woman, James decides Hunter who knew the girl must know more than he says and decides to investigate...

This was a wonderful introduction to the serie. James is cocky and funny. Hunter is... huuum well I had an image in my head of some sort of Chuck Bass less A.hole and with a lot on his plate. and Charlotte! well actually she was my favourtie and I had angst that something might happen to her so the story kept me on my toes until the last page :)

the book hsa no cliffhanger. yes it is the start of something but everything that happens in this book come to a conclusion. only what happens next for the characters is up to the imagination of the reader and then there is the main serie.

On a side note: I was a bit confused at first because it is written as far as I can tell in real British English. I am French and although I learned English in school I really only deal with American English so it took me a few pages to acclimate. but really nothing major just for exemple, the reference to BB2 that went completely over my head loool
Profile Image for Fangs for the Fantasy.
1,449 reviews187 followers
January 25, 2018

James has managed to get a scholarship for Oxford University. He expects challenges from academics, from sports, from being a poor notherner in the elite college. He even could handle a dangerous and unpleasant room mate

He did not expect murder. He certainly didn’t expect witches, witch hunters and being in the middle of an ancient war.

One of the hardest kind of reviews to write is for a book that…. Isn’t terrible? Especially when that kind of covers everything you need to say about it. Honestly I find reviews like this are both harder to write than a review that condemns the books very existence and an utter offense to the eyes of everyone who read it and in some ways more damning. I mean, everyone can read my passionate loathing for a book yet somehow it feels better than my… mild amusement?

But unfortunately mild amusement is the best this book gets from me: I don’t dislike by any means, I enjoyed it, it was an entertaining read, but there was nothing especially unique or compelling about it that drew me in or made me want to pick up the next book

Like the enemies - they’re witches. I do appreciate that the book took steps to distance evil, non-human witches and actual wiccans so we’re not demonising a whole religion, so applause (I also like that secrecy in this case is maintained because past witch hunts have shown what damage revelations can bring). But the book also did very little to define what witches were other than “evil”. Inherently evil - evil for being born, power hungry, ruthless and dangerous. It feels.. Cheap to just decide “hey evil” especially when your antagonist is so very near-human. This leads to things like the Council “binding” witches magic so they can’t use power - does this happen every time or just witches who commit crime? Is there any kind of nuance in terms of sentencing? Can witches be seen as possibly innocent? Do all of them need binding? These are all elements that aren’t explore and even james, as a man who chatters incessantly as he tells us, fails to look at even remotely.

There’s also very little exploration of magic beyond “it exists” and less real making magic an actual appreciable of the story or the witch’s existence. You could, honestly replace “witches” with vampires, demons or wereracoons and not appreciably change the story. The actual nature of the bad guys is pretty much irrelevant, they’re just a rather Generic Bad Thing to fight

Similarly, while there’s a little more information on the Hunters, in that we know they have a council and Generations, with each generation having more abilities. But there’s, again, painfully little exploration of this. How do they get these powers? (And their large stash of magical artefacts for that matter) WHAT are these powers (beyond an ill-defined magic sense?) Are they human? What counts as a generation? Does one or both parents have to be a Hunter? What about James who is a “first gen” does that mean his children would become second? If so how is this inherited?

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Profile Image for Wilmar Luna.
Author 4 books29 followers
December 9, 2017
Let’s start off with a disclaimer before I jump into this review. I was a beta reader for this book, but I also purchased a copy for myself. So don’t let my beta reader status dissuade you from my review. With that out of the way, let’s dive into my James book review.

The hardest book reviews to write are often the ones where you love a book down to its creaky spine.
James is the first book I’ve read which made me consistently laugh out loud and smile.

You might be fooled —considering its dark and creepy opening— that James is a horror, paranormal novel. But once you meet the lad himself, you quickly realize that James (both the character and the book) is funny as heck.

James is the prequel to K.S. Marsden’s inaugural Witch-Hunter series: The Shadow Rises, The Shadow Reigns, The Shadow Falls. The trilogy, the prequel, and any offshoot stories center around the existence of witches and the organization which hunts them. Witches (not Wiccans though they do play a part) are evil, malevolent beings who sacrifice humans in order to increase their own powers. Similar to how pit bulls get a bad rap for biting humans, witches are assumed evil and hunted down.

But as always there’s more to the story. The MMC is a secret witch hunting organization tasked with the neutralization, capture, or execution of witches. No negotiation, no discussion, the witches can either choose to surrender or die. The guilty until proven guilty mission statement of the MMC obviously rubs witches the wrong way. And (as is of no surprise to anyone) some witches are not evil at all. In fact, some witches are so interesting that they deserve their own stories. From their perspective it would be like X-men, except more violent.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we need to get back to James and his roommate, Hunter Astley.
James is easy to like. He’s an affable guy with a sharp wit and a healthy tolerance for alcohol.

He bumbles frequently around the ladies and can sometimes get a little jealous of his roommate, Hunter who always has everything handed to him on a silver platter.

Hunter is the rich kid. He doesn’t take school seriously, beds any girl he wants, comes from a posh mansion, and is destined to become the main protagonist of the Witch-Hunter series.

He’s also a prick.

This gives James plenty of reason not to like him and when the two meet for the first time, you definitely wonder how these two men from opposite worlds ever got along. Somehow, and thankfully not in a way that feels contrived or forced, James and Hunter do become friends and their interactions left me amused through every page. You don’t expect to laugh when reading a book about hunting witches, but truthfully, the prequel is not about the witch hunt.
James (the book) is more about a guy and his friend coming of age and being thrust into a world where witches are real.

I do worry that new readers might not get it. As someone familiar with the witch-hunter characters, I became invested the moment James opened his mouth. I do not know how the reading experience changes if James is your first introduction to the series, but I do know that if you enjoy characters who have funny quips and get into comical situations, James will definitely be the book for you.

If I have to make any minor nitpicks about the book, and these are extremely minor but an issue nonetheless. There isn’t much interaction with the witches. The witches in this novel are prone to committing their evil deeds off camera, away from the eyes and ears of our protagonists. They do make an appearance from time to time, but their presence isn’t a focus in this book. This isn’t too detrimental because the witches who are present in this novel are very interesting. Or I just have a thing for bad girl witches, who knows.

Also, if you’re expecting a plot with a huge twist and big reveal, you will be left wanting. Experienced readers will see the reveal coming a mile away, but that’s okay. James is a character piece executed to the finest degree.

Anyway let’s talk about the prose really quick. The prose is very easy to get along with and often has a few gems which stir the imagination. Marsden describes magic with vivid, fantastic detail. You can imagine the power swirling through the air and even visualize different colors to different spells without the author ever describing color.
Marsden picks the right verbiage in order to craft magic within your brain.

Well, maybe not as much in this book because there aren’t too many witches, but definitely in the trilogy.

In fact, I must whole heartedly recommend you continue onto the Witch-Hunter trilogy and read what happens next. James barely scratches the surface of the epic plot which awaits him and his roommate Hunter. There are no plot twists in James, but there’s definitely a few in the trilogy.

All in all, James is a wonderful prequel to the Witch-Hunter trilogy and one you should follow till the end. There is much more waiting to be discovered.

Five stars.
Profile Image for Nica.
59 reviews
February 28, 2018
This is a prequel to the Witch Hunter trilogy, and it deals with how James Bennet and Hunter Astley become a witch hunting team in the following books. James is a working class boy, with a tragic background, excited to start his university life, and is accidentally assigned Hunter Astley as his roommate. Hunter and James are very different people who dislike each other almost instantly, as Astley is arrogant and rude, while James is likable, friendly, and honest-to-a-fault. James becomes suspicious of Hunter, who behaves strangely and disappears from their social activities, giving nonsense excuses, so he decides to follow Hunter and stumbles upon witches committing murder and discovers Hunter's secret life as a witch hunter. James and Hunter are thrown together by circumstances, and James begins his life as a first generation witch hunter, while Hunter tries to navigate the politics of being a seventh generation hunter from a powerful, rich and ancient family, as well as trying to solve crimes as a team. The story is entertaining, and I found James funny and relatable, with all the humor brought by his big mouth and goofy attitude, although I did not like Hunter half as much as I liked James. His arrogant attitude wasn't exactly endearing and he didn't grow on me, even after the story develops to the end and he suffers through some tragedy of his own. Charlotte Summers is also a good character, and it is always nice to see a good female character, with a strong personality, whose purpose in life isn't to fall head over heels for either man. Overall, the book was fun, but it didn't exactly hold me enthralled, since I found certain aspects of the story to be a bit inconsistent; for example: witches as described as soulless creatures, incapable of human emotions, but were proven to have familial bonds with each other, which seemed to me that they do, in fact, have emotions like love and affection, just not directed at regular, non-magical humans. Also, I thought this book would have LGBTQ characters, but none of the main characters were presented as such. I liked the book, and I may continue to read the trilogy, since James is such a funny, entertaining guy.
Profile Image for Merril Anil.
806 reviews72 followers
December 28, 2017
If you haven't been already introduced to the beautiful witch hunter series by the author then let this book be the ray of light that will lead you to the series.

I had fallen instantly for the series and had followed the series to the core and that is the reason why when the author asked me as to whether I would like to read a prequel to the series, especially one that is based on james, I was instantly on it. So a huge thanks to the author for sharing me the book with me and showing an immense patience towards my take on the book.

The best part about the book. Its for everybody. If you have already been part of the series as a reader then of course you would remember James as being the most entertaining character. The character of James had brought humour to the series. So this book all about James how he ends up being a witch hunter and partner to our star hunter, HUNTER .  In case you haven't been part of the series then that works even better because you get to see and start from the very beginning

The book is a standalone and you can easily dive into without knowing the front and back of the series. The book starts and ends without leaving anything in the air. The language, humour and the story plot keep it exciting and a smooth ride.
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,015 reviews22 followers
March 13, 2018
James Bennett received a scholarship from Oxford University and is now trying to get a good education and get on the rugby team. Then he adds not killing his roommate to this list. But on Halloween he witnesses a girl being sacrificed by witches. He has unwillingly become a witch-hunter with Hunter Astley and Charlotte Summers.

So I have not read the Witch-Hunter series and thought this would be a good way to start. James is worried that he will not fit in with the other student because of where he comes from and that he had a scholarship. But he quickly finds himself involved in hunting witches when he tries to look into Bea’s murder.

I have to say that for a book this size, I didn’t really get too involved in it. There just seemed to be a disconnect with the characters and I think it comes from these characters already being developed in the series. Since I have not read the series I didn’t really get the background. Also, I would have liked more information about both the hunters, witches, and artifacts.

I think this was a good read, if you have read the series. I did like the book enough to continue into the series to see what I have missed.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Profile Image for Colleen Chesebro.
Author 12 books71 followers
March 4, 2020
The Witch Hunter Series is: The Shadow Rises, The Shadow Reigns, The Shadow Falls, which I’ve read and reviewed. The stories revolve around the evil witches who sacrifice humans to increase their own powers. In this world, witches are evil and hunted down by the MMC (Malleus Maleficarum Council), a secret witch hunting organization tasked with neutralizing the threat from the witches.

James is a prequel to K.S. Marsden’s Witch-Hunter series. This book does a deeper dive into the main characters and their motivations. The background information helped me understand some decisions the characters made later in the subsequent novels.

After Yorkshire born James entered university, he is introduced to the snobby Hunter Astley. To his dismay, Hunter becomes his roommate. Soon, the boys find themselves facing off in the Rugby club where James notices Hunter has unusual physical abilities.

By the time Halloween rolls around, James follows Hunter to a warehouse where he witnesses a murder. This single event thrusts James into the heart of the witch hunter organization.

For me, James’ prequel was important to the story line. It also made certain events in the series more poignant than I had initially felt. The book is a quick read. Many thanks to K. S. Marsden for the complimentary reader's copy.
Profile Image for Kaye.
6,824 reviews59 followers
September 10, 2020
Smackdown! Marsden rises to the challenge with this thrilling debacle, delivering one chart topping, jaw dropping, block busting bombshell, hooking you from the start and reeling you in for the duration, melding this baby together seamlessly. Continence and dynamics in layer upon layer that you peel back with each page your drawn into this web so profoundly until everything else ceases to exist. A raging tempest of vexing mishaps and perplexing events, noting the taxing trials and dubious tribulations, alongside the dramatic twists and intricate turns, kicking this baby into overtime, slamming it into an astonishing realization. The characters are complex and genuine with traits and qualities that add depth and realism, blending into outstanding personalities. The scenes are strikingly sharp with abundant details and descriptions that feel as though you were transported to ground zero with them. Remarkable job Marsden, thanks for sharing this little jewel with us.
Profile Image for Amys Bookshelf Reviews.
392 reviews22 followers
April 24, 2022
A great prequel to Witch-Hunter's Trilogy

What a great legend story in James: Witch-Hunter by K S Marsden. I am a big fan of this author! Whatever this author writes, I read. I read the Witch-Hunter Trilogy (The Shadow Rises, The Shadow Reigns, and The Shadow Falls). This author brings the story to life. I found it a remarkable legend story that gives credence to the stories that follow. Something brings James into the world of evil witches, and it changes him, and the future of witch-hunters. James meet Hunter. Hunter meet James. And then it's all darkness, humor, and light along the way. I love it when a Legacy author sends me more of their work! The story brings in the believable, even if almost impossible. This story was very intriguing and unpredictable. This story just takes the reader back in time, especially if the reader read the Witch Hunter Trilogy first. James: Witch-Hunter is a definite recommendation by Amy's Bookshelf Reviews. I look forward to reading many more titles by this author.
Profile Image for Zoltán.
Author 4 books16 followers
November 1, 2017
I've received a review copy of this book from Kelly.

This is a mid-sized prequel story for the main witch hunter series. In the main books, we had Hunter as the MC, and also his two friends, James and Charlotte. This book sees James as the MC and how these three got to know each other and how they ended up in the witch hunting business during their university time.

It's a good introduction/teaser to the series for new readers, and a nice addition for those already familiar with the existing books.

Things that I liked:
- The characters are consistent with the main series, including some character development.
- Feels realistic in terms of university life.
- Adds a couple of less obvious bits and pieces to the main story.

Things that I didn't like:
- The hacking portions are not realistic.
- What happened to the "borrowed" car?!? :)
111 reviews
January 22, 2018
James: Witch-Hunter by KS Marsden
This is a prequel, but you don't need to read the series before this book. I was not lost at all and this was my first book by Marsden.
James goes to college and notices his roommate is a bit odd. James follows him one night and is thrown into a world of witches and witch hunters.
I think this story was great. The characters were well written and developed. The plot was interesting enough to follow and it made me want to keep reading. There was a couple times where I noticed an error with spelling, but it didn't detract too much from the story. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in super natural stories.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Profile Image for Marissa.
3,021 reviews36 followers
November 15, 2017
Goodreads Win Copy

James Bennett is a Yorkshire guy starting his first year at Oxford. He meets his roommate Hunter a fellow member of the rugby team having the usual roommate drama. Soon things will change on Halloween night.

A girl is found murder will cause his life to change. He will enter a world of witches and magic that he never knew existed. As he will learn to fight and kill them to save himself and the world he lives in.

It will take you on an adventure like no other.
64 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2018
Not my normal read, but I loved the charactors in this book, especially hunter and james,
story line was good, will keep my eyes out for the next book

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for R.K. Emery.
928 reviews32 followers
April 12, 2018
I found this novel to be wonderfully written and full of vivid descriptions and emotion.

James is a wonderful lead. He's hot and fun to read about.

There are plenty of twists and surprises along the way that kept me flipping pages and invested in the storyline.
295 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2018
It sets us up for book 1. Makes us wonder about Hunter. And what will happen to James. I will read book 1 to get to know the characters more.
Profile Image for Michael Elliott.
Author 17 books15 followers
September 20, 2017
I was fortunate enough to be given an arc by the author and what an enjoyable read! James, a first year student at Oxford becomes embroiled in the world of witches and witch hunters. I loved the character of James, he's cocky, brash and too talkative for his own good. That's what's nice about him, he isn't perfect, he doesn't always think a situation through and he certainly let's his sarcasm get him into trouble. James is from Yorkshire and K.S Marsden captures his dialogue perfectly. The story is nicely balanced between the student life and James training as a witch hunter. The plot and danger build up nicely and the author has a nice way of balancing the danger with genuinely humorous moments.
This a prequel to the witch hunter series. I will definitely be reading the whole series.
Profile Image for Rosalyn Kelly.
Author 11 books82 followers
December 19, 2017
This is a prequel to the author’s Witch-Hunter series and focuses on one of the characters from the trilogy called James. It can be read as a standalone, but, in my opinion having never read the series, is also a great warm up to the main event.

It details James’ move from the north to Oxford University, how he settles into life there, makes friends, finds his feet and meets his nightmare of a roommate – the aristocratic, arrogant and womanising Hunter, who is a bit of an arse, but also a tad mysterious. All seems to be going well until James witnesses a murder on Halloween and gets dragged into the world of evil witches and witch-hunting.

James is a typical student, spending most of his time in the pub, trying to pull girls and playing rugby. He’s intelligent, studying engineering, but has a bit of a troubled past. He’s also a cheeky chappy with a lot to say and I found him funny and charming.

This book moved along at a fast pace. The characters were believable and the world of witches and witch hunters was intriguing. There is a long history and a secret, ancient council that works with the regular police to track down dangerous witches. Many witches live alongside humans in hiding but sometimes they get out of hand, and the witch hunters are called in. The prologue hints at BIG trouble coming to the witch community in the form of a super power witch, who I’m guessing appears in the trilogy, and her coming power is stirring up the witches.

This was an enjoyable, quick read, my only niggle was how readily James and his friend Charlotte accepted that witches exist and that there’s a secret council with highly trained hunters that track them. I also wanted more from the final witch fight scene, as it seemed to be over too soon.

Definitely a book for anyone who likes witch stories, although in this one the witches are the bad guys, and a great way to ease yourself into the trilogy and build suspense – what will happen with the super witch?!

I received a free review copy from the author.

This review and more on my blog www.rosalynkelly.co.uk/blog
Profile Image for Kathy - Books & Munches.
447 reviews155 followers
January 14, 2018
The only thing I liked about this novel is the overall story, the idea. But that's really it and it hurts so much to say that...

And even the overall story got on my nerves sometimes. Why? It's just so predictable. As soon as one small event occurred at the start of the novel, I knew how it was going to end and I was right. Sure, sometimes books can be predictable like that, but sometimes it also just makes you enjoy a story so much less.

The world-building. It's pretty much a world with witches in it as well and that's it. However, we never find out why the witches are using their powers or why there's a need for witch-hunters - like, they can't all be bad witches, right?! Having those questions the entire time got tiring and frustrating all at once, really.

Then we have our MC and his roommate, James and Hunter. Now those are the guys you seek if you ever need yourself two annoying, self-centered and egotistical men with pretty much no respect when it comes to women. To say I didn't like either of them is an understatement.

But there's one thing I had an even bigger problem with. Alcohol. Sure, our characters are at university and alcohol's a given there I guess. However... Is it necessary for them to go on about beer, wine and whiskey pretty much all the time? There are other ways to cope with things gone wrong?! My father's an alcoholic so I guess it makes sense this got on my nerves ridiculously fast and hard...

1 / 5

Profile Image for Lorraine.
487 reviews35 followers
July 9, 2019
James: Witch-hunter is a great prequel to the Witch Hunter series, which I read last year.

The book is set some years before The Shadow Rises, and covers the time when James first meets Hunter at university.

I enjoyed getting to know both characters all over again at a younger age and the start of James' journey into the world of witch hunters and witches.

K.S. Marsden has written another wonderful book, with plenty of magic, danger, action and touches of humour.

It can be read before or after the series, but also works well as a standalone book.
Profile Image for Barb VanderWel.
1,814 reviews25 followers
December 29, 2022
I love this & I can't wait for more.
I will be also leaving a review on Goodreads @ Amazon.
And letting everyone know about it.
So i gave it a 5 Stars.
Profile Image for Ashley .
1,073 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2018
I would say that while I liked the characters and the setting I would like more development and descriptions throughout. I didn't feel connected to the characters like I want to be. And I also felt there were moments were the book could have been more descriptive of the world and what was going on rather than telling us.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
257 reviews
December 5, 2017
I received a copy of James: Witch-Hunter by K.S. Marsden from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was intrigued by the summary and really wanted to like this novel, but the storyline could have been pulled together better. The overdone descriptions, bland characters and predictable plot lessened the impact of the writing or my enjoyment of it.
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