Just in time for spooky season is Alex Grecian’s witch hunt, Red Rabbit. Riddle is a small town with a witch problem. Sadie Grace has been there as long as anyone can remember. But now there’s a bounty on her head and witch masters are coming from all over to claim the prize. Most of them are no match for Sadie, but one group is different. They’ve come together almost by accident, and despite all the obstacles she throws at them they just keep coming. Each member of the group is there looking for something, will they find it before Sadie Grace stops them?
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Tor Publishing Group for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Red Rabbit contains spoilers!]
Sadie Grace is a witch with a bounty on her head
Sadie Grace has been in Riddle for as long as anyone can remember. One day she woke up alone next to the river with no memory of who she was or how she had gotten there. She could feel her powers though and she used them to help those that she could. But when things go wrong people are quick to blame it on Sadie.
And now Andrew King and Duff Duncan have had enough. They blame Sadie for the deaths of Andrew’s wife and daughter (who was also Duff’s sweetheart) as well as for Andrew’s crop failure. They decide someone has to kill the witch. But they’re too cowardly to do it themselves so they scrape together a bounty and put the word out that whoever kills the witch gets it. Then they wait. And so does Sadie Grace.
As word spreads about the bounty, it pulls in people from all over the country. Some think that witches are just bunk but they’re willing to kill someone for $1,000. Others believe in witches but are sure they can best Sadie Grace. Sadie is kind enough to give them the chance to leave, but she’s not kind enough to lay down and die for them (who can blame her?). One by one they fall. And the bounty stands.
An eclectic group on a difficult journey in Red Rabbit
Down south, there’s a new widow, Rose Mullins. She’s just buried her husband and isn’t sure that she can continue to run the farm on her own. She isn’t sure what to do but her options seem limited. Then she looks out the window to see a group of people gathered around the tree where she buried her husband. She is worried they intend mischief so she goes to confront them.
Turns out they’re inspecting a witch charm that one of the group hung up earlier. Tom, a self-proclaimed witch master, nailed a little straw doll over Joe Mullins’ fresh grave because he claimed that would kill the witch. As he was nailing the doll to the tree a branch fell and struck his traveling companion, a little boy (or is it a girl, no one seems quite sure) called Rabbit, in the head. When he sought help for Rabbit he met Moses and Ned, two wandering cowboys, who decided to accompany him for a little while. After listening to the story of how those four came together Rose decided that she too was going to join them. For one thing, she was sure that Rabbit was a girl and needed to be watched over better than three bachelors, one of whom was sure Rabbit was a boy, could manage.
Unbeknown to the group, the spirit of Joe Mullins also set out with them when they left. He was sure that Rose was headed for trouble and he felt compelled to protect her as best he could. This made their little group total six (even if they didn’t know it), but seven is a much more powerful number, maybe they’ll pick up someone else as they travel.
Tom assures Moses, Ned, and Rose that Sadie Grace is already dead thanks to his little witch-killing charm, all he has to do is travel to Riddle and collect his bounty, easy as pie. Moses and Ned aren’t sure if Tom is right, and Rose is certain that he’s wrong, but they all go along just to see. The journey turns out to be far from easy. The group encounters one obstacle after another. From a haunted forest with some very strange fruit hanging from the trees to a cursed farm to a town hiding horrible secrets, the companions seem unlikely to ever make it to Riddle.
But somehow they keep making it through. What’s more, the witch can’t seem to quite see the group the way that she sees the others who are after her. What’s so special about this band of misfits? Sadie isn’t sure. They certainly seem to be more trouble than they’re worth, but she’s sure she can stop them before they can get her. Too bad there are more things at play than she realizes and a power that just might be stronger than her is coming to play.
Who will win? And more importantly, who should win the coming fight? You’ll just have to read it yourself to see.
Red Rabbit by Alex Grecian is a fun story with many levels
I love how Grecian took the “outcast is a witch” trope and actually made her a powerful witch in Red Rabbit. What’s more, he weaves a tale that seems simple and disconnected on the surface but ends up being intricate and interconnected beautifully by the end. The witch hunters have plans, Sadie has a plan, everyone has a plan, and then there are plans even bigger than that. It’s only when you get to the end of Red Rabbit that you see just how perfectly everything was planned. I always love a story where even little, seemingly unimportant, details are actually necessary for the whole plot to work.
What’s even better, this big and precisely planned story works on two levels. An adult reader can enjoy the details of the plot and the personal quests for meaning that each character is on. A younger reader can just enjoy the funny journey, quirky cast, scary locations, and exciting adventures that make up Red Rabbit. I’d even venture that a young reader can enjoy this book now, pick it up again in a decade, and get something very different out of it, while still enjoying the story just as much.
Even though there are sad or touchy parts of Red Rabbit, there are funny and exciting parts too. The whole story really made me smile. I loved how characters connected in different ways and how common threads gave the story depth that made it more relatable and real, despite being about magic, ghosts, demons, and monsters. Grecian’s Red Rabbit is a great addition to any home library.
My Rating: 8/10
Red Rabbit by Alex Grecian is available now! Will you be checking this one out? Let us know on social @mycosmiccircus or on The Cosmic Circus discord.