The Old Power Returns – Morven Westfield

The Old Power Returns
Morven Westfield
Harvest Shadows, forthcoming June 2007
312 pages

Generally I’m not a huge fan of fiction, but I had the opportunity to read this particular novel over a weekend while flying cross country. And I do have to say it’s pretty good!

Set in the early 1980s, “The Old Power Returns” features Wiccans, psychics, and vampires, just as its prequel, “Darksome Thirst”, did. An added geek feature is the collection of references to circa 1980 computer technology that pepper the story.

It took me a little while to get into the story, partly because there were a lot of references in the first couple of chapters to events from the first book in the series. However, with some reading it wasn’t too difficult to get at least some idea of the events leading up to this book, though not enough to spoil the promised fun of “Darksome Thirst”, which is now on my wish list.

Westfield does a great job of writing a story that drew me in. There were plenty of interesting twists in the action; Frederick the vampire was one of my favorite characters (and one of the more unique bad guys I’ve seen created). However, all of them were well-rounded and distinct.

I think I only really have two small quibbles about this book (and don’t let them deter you!). One is that the book could have used a bit more editing. There were parts that were a bit wordy, or where the author used a particular phrase in two consecutive sentences. Also, the overall message of “Wiccans are good, not evil” got a bit tedious and heavy-handed. I realize that there are still plenty of misconceptions about neopaganism in general, but the traits of Wicca might have been worked more smoothly into the text rather than mini-essays presented as dialogue. Still, the effort is appreciated, and the info itself was pretty accurate.

Overall I found this to be an engaging read once I figured out the backstory. It may start a little slow, but “The Old Power Returns” is a great page-turner by the end!

Four and a half pawprints out of five.

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