Heads-up, I read this one in German, and I thought the translation was fairly good, though in that slightly annoying overly dramatic tone of German that all German Fantasy seems to be in. So props to the translation to be tone accurate, but also, ugh.
Current-ish day modern society, but witches exist and so does the inquisition. Our POV characters are a young witch and an old inquisitor. They fall for each other. Their multi-decade age gap seems to mirror the authors’ age gap, and that preoccupied a lot of my attention and … ick. Ickkkk. Big “are you writing about your marriage? I really hope not.”
But even apart from the language and the relationship thing, I was not impressed. Now, admittedly, expecting another Vita Nostra isn’t fair on anybody, but man, this just was not it. Everybody is constantly moody and obeying their every moody whim, inconsistent, and meh. Nobody is even remotely likeable, everybody sucks:
Witches are somehow both legal to exist if they register and submit to state authority, and also regularly tortured. The inquisition does the torturing (what a nice protagonist to have), but also kinda sorta wants to pretend they keep the general population under control, who hate witches even worse and would just lynch them. Other mythical beings are also around and just integrated in society as enforcers, or hunted. Did I mention that everybody is incompetent, changes their opinion five times per day, is overly given to tantrums, and sucks? Also casual use of torture as just a plot device without any consequences. Ehhhh, I’m not even sure why I finished, as the ending was so muddled and overly dramatic without real purpose. Ah man, I really didn’t expect this book to just suck.
This book is part of the 2022 Backlog Incident.