She Wakes in Water (Hammer of Witches #2) by MK Gibson Book Review

Write on: Thu, 29 Jul 2021 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 1288


SHE WAKES IN WATER is the second book of the Hammer of Witches trilogy. A urban fantasy series about a young half-Graeae (those witches from Clash of the Titans) who hunts down witches after a coven of them murders her mother. Having successfully destroyed the coven that did so and has been hunting fae for spell parts, Agatha continues to hunt down evil witches because what else is she supposed to do with her life?

Unlike the majority of urban fantasy series where deciding to hunt down and murder supernaturals would be considered a heroic journey of self-discovery, the choice proves to be considerably more controversial for Agatha. While Agatha is fine executing one witch after the other and they all seem to psychopathic serial killers, the rest of her family has mixed feelings on the subject. To Ji, her best friend, they are just a bunch of murderers themselves. To Miraj, her homicidal intelligent rabbit, it is just survival of the fittest.

Even Marcus, who is a serial killer like Dexter, is someone that has severe issues with how comfortable that Aggy has become with killing. Marcus hates what he is and what he does but feels compelled to do it. He also projects a lot of innocence and goodness on Aggy despite the fact she's been hunting monsters trying to kill her since before she met Marcus.

The big change of this book is the introduction of the Knights of Seth. A malicious Nazi-like terrorist organization armed with advanced weapons and trained to hunt fairies, they have become a genocidal series of attacks on the local fae population. They have a special interest in Agatha and a belief that she is the key to finally destroying the entire fae race.

I really liked the development of the characters involved with much being devoted to showing that Agatha can't adjust to a normal life and her idea of it was hunting down witches with her friends. The fact they don't want to devote themselves to hunting down monsters for the rest of their lives shows the vast gulf that exists between their worldviews. She's not Spider-Man and romanticizes "normality" but wants to be both a band playing teenager as well as a slayer of evil.

There's a little bit of romance in this story that I really enjoyed as well as a interesting LGBT plotline. Agatha is bisexual just like her friend Ji is gay and these elements are treated as completely normal in the setting. Things take a few twists and turns in the ending but I liked having this element developed. There's a fun "meet cute" element where Agatha meets Kacey after initially flirting with the dude on a date with the latter.

Another interesting fact is the book contains villainous police officer/witch, Vanessa, who has been ordered to protect Agatha despite the fact most of her coven has been murdered by self-said witch hunter. She's a narcissistic psychopath with no redeeming qualities whatsoever but not always wrong in her observations about the gang. Watching them forced to team up was an interesting storytelling beat.

The book is full of actions, the villains completely despicable, and there's a pretty harsh body count by the end of the story. I mean, it doesn't quite reach Red Wedding levels of disaster for the good guys but it's not far off either. Michael Gibson isn't afraid to kill his darlings and that adds significant tension to things. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to the third installment. I read the Kindle version and also listened to the audiobook version. As such, I have to admit I prefer the audiobook version and think Xe Sands did a fantastic job.

Available here

Last modified on Thursday, 29 July 2021 13:53
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.