Book Review: Josefine: Shadows of the Witch (#1) (ARC)

Author: Denise Daye

My grandma is one of the last true masters of witchcraft. I’m nothing. Yet someone thinks I’m too dangerous to live…

Josefine comes from a prestigious line of witches, but she’s never possessed so much as a breath of magical ability. Nevertheless, life in her sleepy German town is peaceful, and working in her grandmother’s herbal remedy store keeps Josefine happy.

But then her grandmother is killed in a merciless vampire attack. Wounded and alone, Josefine finds herself the target of a relentless pursuit. Each day is a battle to survive, so when one of the most powerful and dangerous vampires alive unexpectedly offers his help, a skeptical Josefine is left with no choice but to accept.

Lucius is not only as handsome as the devil, but he’s also as mysterious as the night is dark. The dashing vampire couldn’t care less that Josefine’s hostility for him is transforming into a fiery passion, and yet, she needs him more than ever.

The catastrophic secret surrounding her grandmother’s death will place Josefine in the very center of a war that could kill her once and for all, along with every soul on earth.

Josephine begins with the first novel in the series, Shadows of the Witch. As this will be a trilogy, this book is a great intro to the world and characters; however, a “cliffhanger” ending is always frustrating as I want to know what happens next.(It is not a typical cliffhanger as the story ends at a stopping point where it will most likely pick up in the sequel.) The story centers on Josephine (Fin), a 19-years-old dormant witch, who’s originally unaware of her own magic although she comes from a long line of witches. The story takes place in Germany in the town of Rudesheim on the Rhine River where Josephine lives with her grandmother, who runs a shop selling herbs and remedies. After a vampire kills her grandmother, Josefine is forced to align with others and be on the run.

The romance in this story is hinted at, but it seems that I will need to wait until the second to see it further develop. As a character, I am on the fence with Josefine as I liked her yet I did not quite warm to her. I am sure there is more to her than meets the eye and she will go through some development as the series moves forward, so I just have to read the next installments to find out more. While Josefine was not my favorite in this installment, the side characters were incredibly enjoyable. Fin’s raven, Bertram, has some nice humorous moments that break up the action and mystery. Other enjoyable characters are Luna, Fabian, and Lucias, who all join Fin on her journey.

The world-building is immersive as there are many places explored in this story along with the vampires, witches, and magic. While the pacing of the story may not be non-stop action, it was a great set-up for the rest of the series. There is still some action, so this was a great introduction novel. The story is great for readers who love witches, vampires, adventure, mystery, and everything else in between as it gives the reader a bit of everything. There are many questions that need to be answered and I cannot wait to find them! Overall, this novel makes me very curious to read the sequel, Shadows of the Sword.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Timeless Papers, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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