4 out of 4 stars
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A conspiracy is brewing, and the Sixth Axis can sense it. Shrouded in mystery, it does not fully understand this impending danger, but it knows of its existence. A forgotten tribe, clan Karal, has invented machines that drain humans of their life energy. The activities of this clan threaten the Veil and the Axes. They endanger humans, magic, and put witchkind at risk of being discovered again. What are the motives behind their activities, and who are the people behind it?
The lead character in this tale, Daniel Scratch, is an orphan lad who lives with his dead, great great grandmother, his late father's spirit, and some magical helpers known as brownies. At thirteen, Daniel is tested and chosen to become the next adherent of the Sixth Axis—the power of Endings and Conclusions. After an age-old prophecy is uncovered, Daniel is taken away to the Tower of Endings according to the law of witchkind, where he is trained for years in preparation for his ascension.
Daniel's life is shrouded in mystery as well. The mention of his true family name, Teisejas, meaning "judgment," was mostly avoided. Its connection to the Sixth Axis, his matrilineal lineage, the family tradition limiting them to having only one child or him being the first male offspring in six generations of females, is something of an enigma.
Overall, Daniel Scratch: a story of witchkind was an amazing read, but not as thrilling as I would have loved. It seemed promising in the first few chapters, and I thought I was poised for a ride of magical adventure, ecstasy, and prophecy-deciphering fun. However, the story took a dip at the Tower of Endings. At this point, the author, Don Jones, painstakingly documented all of Daniel's lessons and teachings at the Tower, taking up almost half of the book. This may be boring to some readers, while others may welcome the respite and enjoy learning from the lead character's solitary development and training. This was not the case for me, though, as I would have preferred more action and adventure covering his time at the Tower. I would have also loved some illumination on the prophecy or some more story on the Karal clan's conspiracy. Thankfully, though, the thrill of the story returned, albeit a little late.
Regardless of this, I enjoyed reading this book. The suspense from the beginning of the story is enough to hold a reader's interest to the end. I loved the plot of this tale the most. The prophecy, mysteries, and conspiracies all made for a great story. Although the account of Daniel's time at the Tower was dulled somewhat by the details of his lessons, the author did manage to create some interesting subplots in that section of the book. It made reading about his time in the Tower a little less boring for me.
I must also commend the author's creativity. The rune diagrams and names of spells, as well as the intricacies of the plot and scene description in the book, depict the work of a creative storyteller.
Another noteworthy observation was the near-absence of grammatical errors. This showed the book's professional editing as it made for a smooth and flawless reading experience. Consequently, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars due to its excellent grammar, creativity, and intrigue in the story. The excessive details during Daniel's time at the Tower were not sufficient for me to deduct a star. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading stories anchored on magic, suspense, and a little bit of adventure.
Daniel Scratch: a story of witchkind
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