The Witch’s Revenge by Danny Odato

REVENGE
The Witch’s Revenge by Danny Odato
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (188 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In Harangul, a village in the Latur district of Maharashtra, the Nehra family wakes up to what they believe is an ordinary day. But things are about to take a dark turn in the little village when a mysterious old woman moves into the abandoned house next door. Padma, a simple woman, is married to Mohan, a hardworking tailor. They have four children and are raising them in a loving, traditional Hindu family. They enjoy the culture of their small community and rely on their many friends, elders, and traditions to lead happy and spiritual lives. But soon after the arrival of the strange woman next door, a child is involved in a horrible, fatal incident. Another child becomes seriously ill, and a woman falls to her death from her roof. Then Padma’s own family suffers a tragic loss. Mohan and Padma seek spiritual advice, to no avail, and the authorities offer no assistance. Finally in desperation, as things become more bizarre in the colony, a party of brave men ventures out to seek a strong baba from far away. With faith, strength, and a very strong sense of community, the people of Harangul work tirelessly to free their home from the grasp of a terrible evil presence—a daayan who threatens their very existence. The Witch’s Revenge is a striking novel that seamlessly blends Indian tradition with suspense and horror—a book eloquently presented by a gifted new storyteller.

How would you protect your loved ones from a threat that no one saw coming?

I learned the most about Padma and Mohan as individuals by how they interact with one another throughout this story. Their relationship isn’t the focus of the plot, but the quiet strength they give one another enriches both of their personalities. Both characters were great choices to make the protagonists of this piece.

It would have been helpful to have more information about the villain’s thought processes during the course of this tale. While a strong backstory helps to explain this individual’s motives, certain parts of it never quite made sense to me. Given this character’s knowledge and personality, I would have expected a very different course of events to be the most logical outcome of their experiences.

With that being said, the rest of the characters were quite easy to get to know. Mr. Odato smoothly shifts from one point of view to the next. Since nearly all of the plot is experienced from the perspective of a handful of individuals it was easy to quickly figure out who is speaking when it changes again.

There were quite a few grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes in this book. While I was reading I wondered if certain syntax errors were placed in the text deliberately in order to give hints about the narrator’s background, most of them did not further the plot and seemed to be there accidentally. They were distracting due to how often they occur.

Mr. Odato’s detailed descriptions create a setting that works incredibly well with the plot. It was easy for me to visualize what the village looks like, especially at night when some of the scariest scenes occur. The foreboding presence of a nearby jungle that is rumoured to be haunted sent a chill down my spine.

The Witch’s Revenge has clearly been influenced by classic horror tropes. I would especially recommend this book to readers who are big fans of this style of writing as it is a good example of what it can be.

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