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Reviewed by A. L. Peevey for Readers' Favorite
In R.D. Crist’s Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch, we are introduced to fourteen-year-old Natalie who is sitting by her mother’s deathbed. Taking possession of her mother’s beloved ring, Natalie is whisked away by Ava, a stranger claiming to be a long-lost relative. Together, they flee a sinister enemy, heading for the refuge of a girls-only orphanage that houses an order of witches. With Ava’s encouragement and due to the perilous circumstances she finds herself in, Natalie struggles to discover her previously unknown roots in magical ability, to master her self-doubt, and to accept her destiny. When an evil force bent on revenge attacks the orphanage, will Natalie and her demanding mentors and her new friends be able to defend themselves?
R.D. Crist’s Scarlet Reign: Malice of the Dark Witch plunges us into a world that is familiar with its cities, planes, and trains yet fantastical, a place of magic, both benevolent and malicious. Natalie’s battle to control her emotions and develop her own intuition ring true given her age. Several passages recount her being given counsel and comfort as she fights to balance her often overwhelming emotions with cool calculation, typically a skill developed with time and experience. Crist also gives readers a hierarchy of magical practitioners both familiar and unique, yet always credible and true to the world Crist has created. The characters are flawed and therefore very human, despite their magical abilities. Scarlet Reign is fun without being too preachy about teen angst. I particularly enjoyed the final battle. This book shows us personal growth, forgiveness, loss, and redemption while being a thoughtfully enjoyable read. All in all, a good story.