Wit’ch War is the dazzling third volume in the epic saga of The Banned and the Banished
In her hands, the young wit’ch Elena holds the awesome energies of blood magick—and more. For the fate of all Alasea hinges on her recovery of the Blood Diary, a potent talisman forged five hundred years ago, then locked away behind wards too strong for any mage to break. But only with the secrets recorded in its pages can Elena defeat the evil magicks of the Dark Lord. The challenge? The Diary lies hidden in A’loa Glen, the fabled city that belongs to Shorkan, chief lieutenant of the Dark Lord, and his fearsome army.
Now, with the aid of the ocean-dwelling Sy-wen and her great dragon, Elena prepares a desperate invasion of A’loa Glen. At her side stands the one-armed warrior Er’ril, her faithful protector and the only man who knows how to unlock the wards surrounding the Blood Diary—a man who also happens to be the brother of the dreaded Shorkan.
Meanwhile, Elena's brother, whose magick brings him prophetic dreams, has glimpsed a future in which Elena falls by the deadly sword of . . . Er'ril. But his visions do not always come true. How can he act against his sister's trusted guardian on the basis of a future betrayal that may never happen? For Elena's sake, and for the sake of all Alasea, how can he afford not to?
This third, stout volume recounts the dramatic climax of the quest for the Blood Diary, which holds the secret magic of the evil Black Heart. Three groups of do-gooding warriors are trying to track down the diary: Elena, the wit'ch, and her one-armed companion, Er'ril; Elena's Aunt Mycelle (a reformed shape-changer) and her motley crew; and the pirate Kast the Bloodrider and his beloved Sy-wen. Clemens tediously details each group's long journey, which concludes in a final confrontation on the island of A'loa Glen. There, the adventurers must confront the evil mage Shorkan (who happens to be Er'ril's brother). No tyro, Clemens does intelligent things with Elena and her brother, Joach, as they fight not only their enemies but also the dangers of their magical powers. He writes suggestively about shape-changing, and the final battle is so well constructed that it demands to be read at one sitting. But Clemens's decision to reveal only toward the end that the Blood Diary does not in fact hold the real key to the power of the Black Heart (thereby invalidating the purpose of the quest) produces terrific disappointment. (It does, however, suggest that he'll write at least one more novel in this series.) Although the scenario revolves around strong women and an abundantly detailed world, such a plot is hardly a novelty in contemporary fantasy fiction. Weakly executed, this book won't compel the attention of more discriminating readers.