Wildlands, Book #4
By Laura Bickle
Author’s website: laurabickle.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
In the backcountry of Yellowstone, evil moves below the surface . . .
Following Nine of Stars comes the next chapter in Laura Bickle’s critically acclaimed Wildlands series
As the daughter of an alchemist, Petra Dee has battled supernatural horrors and experienced astonishing wonders. But there’s no magic on earth that can defeat her recent cancer diagnosis, or help find her missing husband, Gabriel. Still, she would bet all her remaining days that the answer to his disappearance lies in the dark subterranean world beneath the Rutherford Ranch on the outskirts of Temperance, Wyoming.
Gabe is being held prisoner by the sheriff and heir to the ranch, Owen Rutherford. Owen is determined to harness the power of the Tree of Life—and he needs Gabe to reveal its magic. Secretly, the sheriff has also made a pact to free a creature of the underground, a flesh-devouring mermaid. Muirenn has vowed to exact vengeance on Gabe, who helped imprison her, but first . . . she’s hungry. Once freed, she will swim into Yellowstone—to feed.
With her coyote sidekick Sig, Petra must descend into the underworld to rescue Gabe before it’s too late . . . for both of them.
The story starts with Petra Dee in her hospital bed as she battles through her chemotherapy all alone and instead is getting worse. Even though life seems to be escaping Petra’s hands every day it passes, she instead decides to stop her treatment to go find her missing husband, Gabriel. Given the events that occurred in the past book, Gabe and Petra were betrayal and Gabe was taken by the new owner of the Rutherford ranch, Owen Rutherford. In hopes of obtaining the all the power from the Tree of Life, the Lunaria, Owen partnered up with a creature created by alchemy over 100 years ago, by the alchemist Lascaris the first owner of the Rutherford ranch. The creature is a mermaid, Muirenn, who is using Owen to get her freedom and vengeance for what was done to her and her imprisonment. At the same time, other things are happening across the town of Temperance that at the end will all come together.
Witch Creek is the fourth book in the Wildlands series. This is the first book that I have read of the series and the author, and I can say that I have become a fan of this series, I really like Witch Creek. I didn’t know what I was expected when I read the summary of the book, but once the story starts to go in deep about the major story of the series and it narrates it well enough that a new read, like me, will be able to follow along and enjoy the book.
At first, I thought that the topic of this series was magic, given the type of genre that the book is, but instead, I found out that is more interesting by being Alchemy. I have read other books and series that feature the topic of alchemy before, but in the Wildlands series, author Laura Bickle explains it better and makes it more interesting. Most of the characters know what they are talking about, but they still explain it with their thoughts for the reader to follow along. If you have a small knowledge of alchemy or have read it before, you can see where the character of Alchemist Lascaris was trying to get and the goal of his experiments. At the same time, I liked how magic and alchemy are blended in this story and help the small stories come together and make a bigger picture at the end.
The story had a lot of interesting characters, I really like Petra as the main characters, but there was one more sub-character that I really liked, Lev. At first, I thought that his POV was just a way to help Petra’s story to progress, but instead, his storyline was one that I really liked and was sad as how it ended. I hope that we can see his character in the future.
As I mentioned before, this was my first time reading anything in the Wildlands series, and I wasn’t so sure how the author was going to handle Petra’s cancer and deterioration. It was a different experience to read about the main character having a terminal disease and still having a lot of things to do or the series to continue, but it was exciting to learn how the author will solve this problem, and I was shocked at how Bickle did it and how well it was tied up with other things happening in the town.
Over the course of the book there were small hints of future problems that will arise in the series and potential enemies of Petra and Gabe, and by the end of the book, we learn who is behind the problems with the Lunaria. I also believe that the book gives hints as to what the future villain actually wants, and I have the theory that he is related to Petra without her knowing it. Alchemy is a great way to hide a person and there is a lot of it in the Wildlands series.
If you are a fan of Laura Bickle or other of her books, then I recommend you, Witch Creek. In this book, a woman that has so little left to give tries her best to find her husband before her time runs out and comes to terms with her death.