Title: Which Witch
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
In: Under My Hat (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 04.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fantasy, Witches
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
5th sentence, 74th page: That thing at the bar had one hand on Quin’s shoulder and he wasn’t smiling anymore.
Hazel is a witch who is part of a popular band made up of herself and her friends who are witches. She has a familiar, a crow named Cawley. The pair only recently found one another, and are still having trouble speaking each other’s language. Cawley knows an evil creature is following Hazel, putting her and her bandmates in danger, but he can’t seem to make her understand. As Hazel and her friends go on stage to play, the creature comes after them, which leads Hazel to learn something new about herself and one of her friends.
This was a really quick, fun and cute short story. Which means that this is going to be a quick and (hopefully) fun review.
The idea of witches and their familiars is nothing new. But, witches in a rock band, with their slightly unorthodox familiars hanging off of them definitely is. The ability to use music as a power was also a great angle that I didn’t expect. It’s a nice echo of the power that music has over people – literally. A song can change a life, sweep you away in its wings. But McKillip takes it another step.
Although I love the symbolism of music in this story, it’s the bonding between witch Hazel and her familiar Cawley that I found the most engaging. Not only is it sweet, but it’s a reminder that all good relationships take time.
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