The Gastwick Witch

The Orion Chronicles - Book 2

Fiction - Fantasy - General
369 Pages
Reviewed on 08/13/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

R.L. Keck gives readers book two in The Orion Chronicles - The Gastwick Witch - to pick up where The God Stones left off. Captain Matheson has saved his daughter, gotten sober, and removed a foe from his path while entangling himself with The Keeper. The God stones and their energy source remain the mission until another threat, the Malefactors, power stones that raise a witch named Moira to do their bidding. Moira is at a near apex of power as a conduit for the Malefactors, collecting stones and altering time and dimension. Circumstances force Matheson to almost mirror Moira's position in line with the Keeper for the only chance of keeping his crew, people he deeply cares for, and everyone else across multiple timelines alive.

R.L. Keck is a storyteller through and through. The Gastwick Witch is complex but maneuverable but I will say that, as a woman, I might shock readers when I say that Moira is my favorite character and, as a woman, Moira is not easy to dislike. She is a woman, a witch, who was cast out when she was old and no longer considered beautiful, then exploited by alien forces to do their bidding. Moira has been abused by men from childhood so you sort of get why she is harnessing whatever power is being offered. Keck is doubtlessly intentional in building up the nuanced irony, allowing Moira to erase every man in a room with a magic blast and then tell the subjugated women, “Kneel no longer.” Epic battles and Slipstream jumps keep the pages turning but characters you care about, even ones who do terrible things, are what pull readers in. Antagonists that are bonafide hags don't get treated with compassion by authors and my feminist roots are elevating Keck into the 'very highly recommended' category. And so, there it is. The Gastwick Witch: Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

The Gastwick Witch is a work of fiction in the historical fantasy and adventure subgenres and forms the second novel of The Orion Chronicles. The story is intended for the general reading audience and was penned by author R. L. Keck. Following on from the events of The God Stones, we find ourselves immersed in a multiverse where the battle for control rages alongside the dangerous historical background of 1864. Captain Matheson faces a new challenge when he and his crew discover the presence of Malefactors, a second set of powerful stones that could create universe-altering consequences if they’re left to reunite. A mysterious witch from 1795 with everything to lose holds the key to destruction, and she must be stopped at all costs.

This is another thrilling multi-dimensional fantasy adventure from author R. L. Keck that fans of his previous work won’t want to miss. Newcomers and series fans alike will find it surprisingly easy to dive into the complex plot and begin to follow Matheson and his crew through time and parallel worlds as they chase down Moira and the Malefactors. I found the battle scenes to be particularly epic, with their cinematic description and a fast-paced narrative that rockets you from one startling moment to the next. I felt that Moira’s character development was sharp and intelligent, making her an unlikely but highly formidable foe. Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Gastwick Witch as a must-read fantasy adventure for fans of the current series and R. L. Keck to readers seeking a talented author whose highly imaginative stories they can fully lose themselves in.

Asher Syed

The Gastwick Witch by R. L. Keck is a speculative supernatural time-travel novel and the second book in The Orion Chronicles, preceded by book one, The God Stones. In the first installment, a futuristic Earth has been depleted of its greatest natural resources and, in order to sustain energy when fossil fuels are no longer an option, an alternative source must be found. Captain Matheson of the British Navy does find a source but there's a catch: it exists in another time. His official mission is compromised, but not abandoned, when a shocking discovery is made that becomes a priority for Matheson. To take care of both he makes a deal with The Keeper that he is now obligated to repay. As Matheson and co. criss-cross timelines—and time between time—a new threat emerges, the Malefactors, who operate through the rejuvenate witch Moira. It is a race against time and powerful forces to get the relics, get to Point Zero, and save the world from its inevitable destruction.

I went into The Gastwick Witch without having initially read the first book, but stopped quite a way through and decided to read The God Stones before progressing any further. As a reviewer, I wouldn't normally do that but the story and the way R. L. Keck writes it are too good not to get the full cinematic experience. There are a couple of things that are unique to The Orion Chronicles that set it apart from a crowded genre. The first thing is that it is the very definition of a crossover genre series in how it starts in the future, which means full-scale mechanization with so much advancement that the entire planet is ensconced in anti-radiation tech. The fantasy elements kick in with magic and sorcery, supernatural in the stones themselves, and then the time travel that adds layer upon layer upon layer of intrigue and adventure. Some of the more complex explanations take a little paragraph re-reading but Keck spares readers from information dumps and the details come out in organic dialogue. The incredible climactic action scene about two-thirds of the way through between Moira/the Malefactors and Matheson/the Keeper is among the best I've read. It's fierce and emotional and all-engrossing, as is the rest of the story. There is a ton to unpack but it is so, so awesome when it all comes together, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Keck takes us next.