Warning: Contains Spoilers!
‘Rise and dance the jig of Dark for me.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: This summer I had the spine-chilling experience of hearing this chapter read aloud by Mr Jarvis himself at a book festival, and I must now strongly argue for a set of Witching Legacy digital audiobooks narrated by the author. (What about it, Egmont?)
Great as this chapter is and fantastic as it was to hear it read aloud to a crowd of silent, breathless new Witching Legacy fans, I do rather weep for Tracy and the Empress of the Dark (to call back to Roslyn Crozier) that she might have been. She was all set up in the first book to be a major, albeit unwitting, player in the machinations of Mister Dark and the Triad. I can’t help but feel that she has been unceremoniously disposed of here, and I would have loved for her to have stuck around for a bit and had a full arc in the style of Pear or Alison Sedge.
All that aside, this is one ghoulish chapter, and a good setup for the overall tone of this book, which is a lot grimmer than the relatively fluffy Power of Dark. First of all, a run-down scrap metal yard at night is a Dancing Jax setting if ever there was one, and the casual murder of the night watchman has that classic Robin Jarvis Grew Up On Horror Films And It Shows feel.
Mister Dark himself also seems to have acquired a bit of the gravitas afforded to semi-major Robiny villains. We’ve seen what’s at stake for him in the prologue, and this knowledge lends all his actions a hint of true menace, tinged with desperation. If he fails, he will be forfeit to the pettiest and most sadistic deities of the Whitby Witches universe, and we all know what happens to paltry warlocks who displease the Lords of the Deep.
Matt’s Thoughts: Well, any thought that Power of Dark was a bit light-on has been banished by this curtain-raiser. A few of us had hopes that Tracy might turn out to be an interesting character in her own right as this series went on, but she’s gone by the end of the chapter!
That said, I am very glad to see the return of Jack Potts. He was far too interesting a character to leave behind in Book 1, and this interesting mix of robots and witchcraft is fascinating. (That said, I haven’t read Deathscent yet, which I understand also shares a steampunk theme? Or is that my imagination?)