Way back in 1990, Anne Rice was publishing 'The Witching Hour', the first book in her 'Lives of the Mayfair Witches' series, of the stories that showed the kind of stories this woman had in mind and wanted to write.
I had the chance to buy this emblematic book not long ago, just because of the curiosity I felt towards Rice’s work, praised as one of the best ones in the Gothic vein of literature, knowing practically nothing about it, just that it was better to start with this series and then go for her 'Vampire Chronicles'.
Some of my obsessions in books are magic and witches, which are the topics I always try to include in my To-read lists, and in the stories I write as well. Since this is one of the most worshipped authors among readers, I thought there was nothing to lose to give her a try.
Little did I suspect that Rowan Mayfair and Michael Curry, main characters of 'The Witching Hour', will become close friends of mine during my trips in my comings and goings from college. What used to be an empty time that I spent doing nothing became a very precious reading time I felt too short.
The beginning was strange, as it starts directly with the accident’s consequences in Curry, detailing everything that happened and the subsequent encounter with Rowan Mayfair, a woman who knows nothing about her family history, her roots, her past and surrounded by a halo of fame and mystery as a neurosurgeon.
From there, 'The Witching Hour' will let us discover the many secrets that Rowan has dealt over the years and the hard time Michael has been living since the accident. Their romance, a secondary plot in the overall plot, will serve as a guide and their motive to travel and discover the lives of the Mayfair family.
To describe it as tempting the idea of telling you what this family is in reality, besides witches, is not enough. I almost need it, but I’m sure it is going to spoil the whole book for you, which I strongly recommend you to read.
You will find many heavy topics and uncensored stories for each member of this peculiar family, each of them weirder than the past one, and, strangely, they are all presented in an elegant way, so you don’t realize what you’re reading until you need to stop for any reason, that’s when you realize how twisted The Witching Hour really is.
Many classical elements of Gothic literature are presented in a mean way, creating a sinister and dark atmosphere. It’s like getting immersed in a different world, a new side of this very same Earth we think we know and discovering its macabre secrets, although I can hardly think about anyone who will like to have this kind of familiars.
I cannot deny that 'The Witching Hour' has its own enchant. Every phrase is so graphic and poetic at the same time it casts a spell, making us read as much as we can, despite the heavy content and style.
Because of this, I would tell you read many more books before getting into this one in particular. It’s not the reading you could describe as fast, easy, light or kind, but it won’t either make you suffer, scream or get traumatized, or not before the end, at least.
Many bloggers have criticized just that, the end. I’ve see a lot of reviews on 'The Witching Hour' complaining about it and how they felt that Rice should have changed it in order to make it better and more “readable,” and if any asks me, that’s a complete nonsense.
People makes the mistake of comparing this with other books, mostly those that fall in Young Adult or Teenager category, which have a different style in every sense, including the ending. If it wasn’t enough to get out of their comfort zone, to expect the same for this than in other light novels is what they needed to hate such an interesting story. I’m begging you not to do this if you want to fully discover 'The Witching Hour’s' enchant.
I can only recommend it for mature reader, but, considering these times, some will agree with me saying that a seventeen years old will feel comfortable enough to enjoy and learn a little bit with 'The Witching Hour'.