It has been almost a year since Anna moved to Chicago to stay with Blake, a medicine man and warlock who is not only her half-brother but also the key to saving her mother’s soul.
Blake has been diligent in volunteering work for her around the city, but extremely evasive when it comes to meeting with his own part of the deal. So far, Anna has had little leverage with her brother, but things change when Blake sets on his own quest.
Anna delivers a message to a patron of the bar Moonshine, Aidan Bishop. Though ordinary looking, Bishop is another of the supernatural beings that inhabit the city, a scryer capable of discovering even the best hidden objects.
Alas, she can’t help it but to create a ruckus. Because Anna is a hag – a creature with immense untapped power and some serious anger management issues.
But she is not the only magic and supernatural being in the city, and most don’t appreciate being observed too closely.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exhange for an honest review.
Though this book has been updated by Adalind Hargrave and retitled The Storm Hag, I read its earlier form, Into the Darker Half. From the very beginning I really enjoyed this book. It follows Anna, a young hag – not entirely dissimilar to a witch – learning to deal with her powers. She lives with her half-brother, the warlock and healer Blake. The story takes Anna on a journey through the dark, grimy underbelly of Chicago, heading to locales not known to those not looking for them. Working for Blake, things twist and turn and come close to unravelling catastrophically for the young hag, and for the city at large.
The Storm Hag is a gritty, dark urban fantasy filled with menace and a distinct lack of hope. It’s a genre I have only dabbled with following my long sojourns into the fantasy realm of the incredible Discworld series, but if this is anything to go by, it’s a genre I want to delve into deeper. The location felt dark and grim, not too different from the dark, mean streets seen in the recent Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix. It felt like there was a threat at every turn, waiting to strike.
Aside from the well-crafted locations, the characters that Adalind Hargrave has created are vibrant. I found myself feeling for Anna and her struggles, really disliking Blake and his aloofness. Even the side characters felt lively and well created. There were plenty of people to like and loath, to root for and against throughout this book. My only complaint is it was over as soon as it was. I want to learn more of Anna and her life managing the powers she has thrust upon her in life. Into the Darker Half delivered a dark story in an even dark location that made for fantastic reading.