Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Desert Cursed #1

Witch's Reign

Rate this book
I am cursed by the desert I was born in, and now I wander the space between the Walls meant to hold my kind-the supernatural kind- in.

If I can find a way out, if I can find a way to escape, perhaps I can outrun this curse. But that means passing through the Ice Witch's realm-something no one has returned from.

But life has a funny way of changing directions on you. A freak accident. A child in danger. And a damn Warlock named Merlin who thinks he can manipulate me.

It looks like I'm about to start a journey I never planned on, to face a Witch who has never been challenged, in an attempt to survive a storm of magic, danger, and trickery.

370 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 30, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Shannon Mayer

114 books5,893 followers
A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was born into a family of Star Wars nuts. I have a lot of siblings (somewhere I lost count but I think there was more than could be numbered on one hand) and being one of the young padawans I was subjected to Star Wars marathons, on a regular basis. If you've read any of my books you'll see there is often a reference to said movies as a small homage to my upbringing. May the force be with you and all that jazz.

I started writing when I realized I didn't want to grow up not believing in magic, or not believing in creatures everyone else said didn't exist. That being said, I have never seen a fairy, unicorn or dragon. I had a neighbour who swore they fed the leprechauns in their garden, but I never caught the little buggers no matter how long I lay in wait. (And consequently had to help the neighbours plant new flowers to replace those I killed waiting for the leprechauns to show their faces.)

Along the way, I found my husband who is the rock that keeps me from floating away into my dreams, and we have a little boy who is the centre of our world. Living on a farm keeps us busy (as if the writing wasn't enough) and I have more than my share of stories about wrestling with cows, helping birth calves and ending up in the creek during the process, falling in the mud (we'll call it mud but we all know that on a farm, mud is rarely mud) and chasing escaped livestock in the hopes the four legged convicts don't make it to the highway.

I've taken up archery, and the goal is to move into horseback archery in time (you know, when I can hit the target on a consistent basis) and when no one is looking, I love to bake (this doesn't happen often as it's hard to keep the sweet treats in stock with two boys in the house.)

As to what's coming next for me? More stories (since those never stop inside my head, I might as well share them with all of you!) and more adventures. Pretty much, when the fancy strikes, I'll jump on it. Leap before you look I'm sure that motto was created for me.

Or was that . . . think big and dream bigger, ready, set, pull the trigger . . . yeah. That one is a good one too. But only if you have a gun. And are hunting elephants. Which is not cool because of so many reasons. Let's stick with the first one with an addendum.

Leap before you look and let your dreams carry you on their wings. And that, my friends, is me in a nutshell.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,961 (45%)
4 stars
3,485 (32%)
3 stars
1,652 (15%)
2 stars
455 (4%)
1 star
313 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 612 reviews
Profile Image for Ronda.
857 reviews131 followers
December 11, 2022
WHY have I not read this before now?????

I love Shannon Mayer and I have read a lot of her books and yet this series escaped me. I decided to pick it up and wow.... just WOW!

I love the way ms Mayer writes her stories and portrays her worlds but this book seemed to stand way above many of her others. The characters seem pretty unique to me and the world (although I have only ventured to a part of it with this book) sounds different too.

I love Zam and some of her new found friends but I'm right there with her about her trust issues, I'm not sure I'd trust them either although I DO want to trust Maks - it could be because he is just hot... and I'm not gonna give away any spoilers so you do need to read up on this one!!!

I am dying to get into book 2, this is going to be such an incredible series, I just know it!!!!
Profile Image for Beth.
3,129 reviews263 followers
February 3, 2018
You know that moment when you finished every book a specific author has released and you just can't get enough... Witch's Reign has made me realize I'm there with Shannon Mayer.
Profile Image for Angela (Angel's Guilty Pleasures).
1,547 reviews865 followers
June 3, 2019
Witch’s Reign is the fist book in the Desert Cursed series by Shannon Mayer. We are introduced to a verity of characters and an interesting world. There’s humor, adventure, and loads of action.

Zamira Reckless Wilson is a shifter who everyone thinks can’t shift, she’s cursed not with one, but two cures, her family is dead except one brother, and she doesn’t trust nor does she feel she fits in. First off, can I just say what a name for this character. It made me laugh and it fit her perfectly. Now as for her as a character. I liked her. She’s the under dog. No one wants her, no one sees how strong and capable she can be, they don’t believe in her, and her trust issues are valid. Ya, she does things that are reckless, but in the end they work out.

The side characters let me just say some I like and other’s not so much. We meet a verity of people and all have their own agendas.

The world is unique. We have a variety of shifters, creatures, Greek gods, magical people from Arthurian legend, and so much more… It’s a bit confusing at the beginning, but as we move along we get to learn more about this world and what is going on.

Witch’s Reign hooked me and I can’t wait to continue and find out what happens next with Zamira and the gang of misfits she acquires along the way. If you enjoy Urban Fantasy, a verity of myth’s, legends and creatures; then you should give this series a go.

Rated: 4 Stars

Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,770 reviews1,470 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
April 25, 2018
DNF 32%

I wanted to stop reading after 5% because it was so descriptive, but I kept on reading waiting for the leading Hero to emerge so I see where the romance was going to go.

I waited through the 32% and I realized I didn't like the Heroine. She is a bit full of herself even though she states she isn't that great, hard to comprehend, but true.

Also she kept on saying how submissive the Hero is, because he is human and that's a major turn-off for me

I wanted a little sexual tension, so maybe this book isn't for me
Profile Image for Jillian.
164 reviews
December 1, 2018
In the end, I went with 2 stars because I cannot do 2 1/2 stars.

This book is riddled with imperfections—the kind that usually cause me to stop reading about 25% in (if I can’t finish a book, it gets 1 star). But, I was able to finish it (2 stars). And, despite its glaring flaws, I am curious enough about the potential of this series to try the next one (2 1/2 stars). Probably not any time soon, as there are other things I’d rather read first, but someday I may see if things improve.

I’ll also note that I listened to the audio version of this. Lauren Fortgang is an excellent narrator, so my ability to finish this book and still be interested enough to read the next one may be due to her performance. Though, I will admit that the last two hours were painful, even with Fortgang's talent carrying it (I’ll explain why below).



I feel like this world is very built-out in the author's head; however, she is so close to it that she could not explain it in a linear way, nor was she aware of when she was assuming her audience has knowledge they don't have. So, as readers, there is a large amount of context missing and important connections are not made, which means many details in the story make no sense to us.

Basically, I do not understand the entire world or what anything has to do with anything else. I tried to type out all of my specific unanswered questions to really convey my confusion, but it came to 700 words and brought me too quickly to the character limit for this review if I want to cover all the rest.

Suffice it to say, I know these zillions of things are involved: walls, the three guardians (White Wolf, White Bear who is a shapeshifter, White Raven), jewels, humans, Jinn, the desert (or maybe more than one desert), possibly other biomes that aren’t a desert, the lion prides (from the desert, maybe from other biomes, and the Bright Pride), an oracle, Merlin, Flora, the emperor, several curses and I think a prophecy, the history of anything, the roles of basically everyone involved, the White Queen (also Ish’s sister) who is a shapeshifter, the laws of shapeshifting in general in this world, sentient horses, an evil flail, dragons and numerous other supernaturals/monsters/creatures, the hierarchies within all of these species and their hierarchies with other species, some sort of disaster.

But, how the pieces fit together is a severely broken puzzle. I don’t understand the world pre-dystopia, I don’t understand what led to the dystopia, and I don’t understand the dystopia itself.

Nonsensical character names. It feels like the author kept a list of names she liked since childhood and worked them all into this book, whether they made sense or not within family systems or locations or spellings. There is no rhyme or reason to it, and I feel more attention paid to this would have actually helped with cohesion of the story itself. Again, given the character limit for this review, I had to cut out my detailed analysis of why these don’t make sense; however, there is one I want to address in particular because my complaint about it is tied to my next point.

What is with the use of "Merlin" as a name? It's a highly recognizable name distractedly added in for no reason. We aren’t given the impression that this Merlin is supposed to be The Merlin. Did the author think it just sounded cool for a warlock? Or, is it a nod toward Arthurian legend as a personal interest of hers, even if this Merlin isn’t The Merlin? Or, perhaps it’s more than a nod and the author is trying to draw some sort of parallel between her story and that legend (if so, it fails)?

Mysterious literary references. Along the same lines as the Merlin thing, we have random Shakespearean references thrown in. Once again, I was left wondering if the author was trying to draw some sort of parallel between her story and the plays (if so, it fails).

But, beyond that, there is another problem. While it could be argued that the references “make sense” as a mechanism for Zam and Lila to find common ground and to introduce the tiresome “she is tiny but fierce” theme, it was still completely nonsensical because it’s not clear to the reader how or where Zam even learned these things (the educational system is not addressed). Moreover, it’s not clear why would they be so meaningful to her when we are never given the impression that reading or theater are a part of her general interests (or would even be accessible to her, if she were interested). Still further, it’s not clear why literary references of any kind in this world would be accessible or meaningful to A DRAGON, HOW WOULD A DRAGON BE LEARNING ANY OF THIS STUFF (especially if the humans aren't)??

By this point, I was beginning to feel like the author was trying to work in references to her favorite literature because they are relevant and fundamental to her, not because they are relevant and fundamental to the story—and, in fact, they do the story harm by bringing to light further world-building that was not tended to.

Open-ended questions. There aren't just unanswered questions about the world, there are weird statements and circumstances throughout that are never addressed. Eventually, I realized that I think the author is trying to do some “foreshadowing,” but it is clumsy, so instead of just planting a subtle seed they came off as huge glowing neon red signs that only left me wondering if not closing these loops was purposeful (attempt at foreshadowing) or just forgotten (too much chaos to keep track of). Examples include:
- When they are fighting the vultures, Zam thinks, "I didn't have the breath in me to ask why she [Lila] wasn't using her acid," like that was a significant mystery or plot device, but then it is never spoken of again.
- After when Merlin "heals" Maks, Merlin says Maks will "owe" him, but that was never explained.
- The satyr that Zam meets in the beginning who pointedly tells her “he thinks he’ll see her again,” but he never comes back into the story.

Random "goddess" mentions. Zam keeps cursing to the goddesses: "sweet baby goddess" and "goddess of the desert" and once sort of alludes to "praying to the desert goddess." But there is no real explanation about these spiritual beliefs or how they fit in to everything else. Any time she says these things they come off as an affectation. I considered that perhaps it was a way to build in an inoffensive swearing method for Zam, but I don't think that's it considering Zam's fondness for the F-word.

"Rare" plastic. Knowing what I know of this world, which isn't much, it is apparently a dystopia based (however loosely) on our Earth. But, for some reason, plastic in Zam's world is "the most expensive material out there because it was so hard to find." Really. REALLY? The plastic of our world is so pervasive and such a huge problem because it's cheaply manufactured and used for a lot of things but it also isn't biodegradable, which would indicate that it would be one of the most common materials to be found, even in a future dystopia.


Zam is the most wishy-washy, martyred, woe-is-me, victimized, un-self-aware, crybaby character I’ve encountered in a long time. I think the author wants her to be viewed as a strong woman (or to grow into a strong woman), but the fact is that she is the total opposite. Zam does not think for herself, she has no self-identity, and she lets other people and circumstances define her. She takes no responsibility for her choices, but why should she when she has so many other convenient things to blame them on? Her curses (yes, two curses!), her “submissive” nature as a pride cat, her abusive exhusband, her brother, her friends and traveling companions, her foes and enemies, the evil flail, her father’s ring, her mother's early death, the list goes on and on.

The endless, endless waffling about everything as she tried to "find herself" grew tiresome and made Zam’s inner dialog is just… painful at times. Usually this surrounded her “certainty” about people, situations, and thoughts that are predictably disproven a short while (sometimes just three sentences!) later. It comes off like the author read a book about creating "tension" and instilling "character growth," then used this technique of “certainty” over and over but didn’t execute it well, so instead of making Zam strong, it is the crux of her weaknesses and creates a character flaw of insurmountable proportions.


Unaware of events that just occurred. After she’d beaten the White Wolf, Zam says “Time to find my friends and get our asses through the next chunk of territory and hope to hell it went better than this one.” But, SHE LIVED THROUGH IT AND KILLED THE WOLF and hadn’t expected to do either of those things, so isn’t that a good thing and they should hope it goes just as well as, if not better than, this one?

Her father and humans. Zam is constantly referring to things “her father taught her.” When she and Maks almost sleep together, her inner dialog talks about how much her dad didn’t like humans and how aghast he would be if he knew she almost slept with one. Then later she is having a flashback with Darcy about rescuing some helpless humans and Zam tells Darcy that “her father would help them” and so she is going to help them (hehe, just her being "reckless" again!! ugh). I didn't get the idea that her father would ever help humans, even if they were in trouble, because they are so untrustworthy (OMG THAT TRUST THEME SERIOUSLY GIVE IT A REST) and he hated them.

Merlin's "healing" of Maks. When Maks gets hurt and Merlin appears again, he tells Zam he will help Maks, but can't do so with magic, so Merlin uses his hacka paste on Maks and before doing so tells Zam that "He [Maks] will owe me something, but you do not." If all Merlin is going to do is use the paste that Zam already has available from her own supplies, why allow Merlin to tend to an unconscious Maks who cannot say for himself whether he wants to owe Merlin? Zam could have just been like, "Forget it, Merlin, I'll just use my own paste." Instead, she allows Merlin to minister to Maks and then acts like it's a complete and total magical miracle when ALL HE DID WAS USE THE PASTE.

Absolutely THE most confusing exchange I have ever read in a book. Before we get to the exchange, I should explain where my frame of mind was when I got to it. In a nutshell, my understanding was that all of how Zam looks is basically the exact opposite of how a desert lion looks (she is dark and has green eyes, where desert lions are light and have golden eyes), and this is due to her taking after her mother, who was not from the desert or the Bright Pride.

With me so far?

Then, there is this exchange at about 60% in:

"Do you not have questions for me?" Merlin asked as we walked.

I snorted. "Would anything you tell me be the truth?"

"How did you know who she is?" Lila piped up.

"I knew her [Zam's] father," Merlin replied. "Many years ago, before he came to the desert to find more people like him."

[Zam's inner thoughts] “He could be telling the truth, but my coloring alone gave me away as a desert-born. If you discounted my green cat eyes, and pale skin. I favored my father there.”

Wait. Back up. What?

Just follow me for a second as I break this down. Absolutely nothing about this exchange makes any sense at all. I can't even tell you how long it took me to logically organize my thoughts about these five baffling lines to explain my utter bewilderment—and even then I'm not sure I have been successful.

Lila asked Merlin how he knows who Zam is. Merlin replies he met Zam's father "before he came to the desert to find others like him." Okaaay, but now this opens up a bunch of other questions. How exactly did Merlin know about Zam? He only met her father once, and even then why would simply meeting him indicate anything about Zam being his daughter? Merlin doesn't go on to say, "Oh, we chatted and he told me about his daughter, blah blah blah." And, if her dad already wasn't in the desert (which is where I presumed he had always lived), where was he before that? And if he had to go to the desert and search for more people like him, does that mean he isn't from the desert at all (and, if not, how can he be colored like he is?) or does it mean that all the lions in his desert went away/died/were killed so he went out to find more in a different desert? And, if that's true, how does any of this fit into the Bright Pride things? Honestly, that sentence reads like it was written about Zam's mother, not her father—that Merlin met her mother before she came to the desert to find more people like her.

Then, Zam thinks to herself about how Merlin could be telling the truth about meeting her dad. I thought she would follow that up with something like, "He could be telling the truth, but my dad never mentioned him, so I can't know for sure." Nope. Instead, she goes into how skin color alone is apparently supposed to indicate whether Merlin knew she was her father's daughter or not. I just... what? I think she is trying to imply that Merlin could be lying about meeting her father because her coloring gives her away as desert-born without Merlin ever having had to meet her father. Except that we've established that desert-born are pale and Zam is dark, so why would her coloring give her away as desert-born? If anything, it gives her away as not being desert-born. Then, she goes on to say we should discount her green eyes (maybe that kind of makes sense), but then says to also discount her PALE(??) skin and further tells us she FAVORS HER FATHER IN BOTH SKIN AND EYES, BUT SHE DOESN'T FAVOR HER FATHER IN EITHER SKIN OR EYES AND EVEN IF SHE DID NONE OF THIS IS PROOF THAT MERLIN EVER MET HER DAD OR HOW HE KNOWS ABOUT HER SO WHAT THE BLEEDING F SERIOUSLY. I DON'T GET IT. AT ALL. Again, this reads like this whole exchange was written about her mother, not her father, and key details did not get switched around—Zam's eye and skin colors wouldn't mark her as her father's daughter, they would mark her as her mother’s daughter. And, even then, it still wouldn't explain why this would be so significant to Merlin to figuring out who Zam is, particularly because presumably there are other dark lion entire prides around--unless the dark lion thing is the singular "curse" placed on her mom and her offspring, and so if Merlin runs into a young lion with these traits he would know it could only be her offspring, but that is only true if I am right that this whole exchange was originally about the mother and even then it doesn't explain why Merlin would even know about her mother to begin with.


Backward and ineffectual way of overcoming prejudice. It became clear that there is something “special” about Maks and that he’s not human early on because we get a million obvious and awkward red neon "foreshadowing" signs about it. The idea that he wasn't human after all, I had no problem with. Until I realized that, if this is the case, using him as a mechanism to have Zam get over the prejudice and racism instilled in her about humans and to discover tolerance toward them makes no sense; in fact, it disproves it altogether because it means the only way Maks “proved” humans' worth to Zam was by NOT BEING HUMAN AFTER ALL AND THEREBY NEVER PROVING HUMANS' WORTH TO HER. It could be argued that he still helped her get over her prejudice of the Jinn because by the time she realizes he is basically the son of her worst enemy she already loves him so being "human" was a red herring to lead us away from his surprising true identity, but since so much of the book was about her struggling with prejudice against humans specifically, it just doesn't make sense... UGH.

The "curses." Curses are... very hard to execute well. This book is a prime example of why. They were just… ludicrous to me. They were too complicated in an already grossly over-complicated plot, relied on too heavily to formulate (or, rather, eliminate) Zam's personality and excuse her actions, and did not do anything for the book that couldn't have been done without them. A curse is only as effective as the context, parameters, and purpose built around it, and both of these curses fail in that regard.

Let’s talk about the first "curse."

Eventually we learn it came from her mom's side. But, we don't ever really find out what it is or why it is, exactly. Is the "what" that she is small and a house cat? Is it that she is dark-colored instead? Is it that she will be "alone" in life? Which is it, or is it all three, and are they supposed to be interconnected somehow in some grand scheme? Why isn't her brother cursed? Is it genetic, but only towards females? Why did the Jinn bother cursing her mother in the first place? I kept waiting for these things (and many others) to be clarified and connected, but they never were.

Let’s talk about the second "curse."

“Everything you do in life will fail.” That is basically the curse.

We don’t find out what this is until very late in the book; instead, we endure repetitive generic references to it. When we finally learn what it is about 80% in... we then wish we hadn’t. I said earlier that the last two hours were painful. It is the point where Zam “loses” her “protective” ring that is supposed to shield her and all those around her from the terrible Jinns' curse. At this point, there is basically an hour of internal dialog where Zam mourns the loss of her ring (which I am convinced is a placebo, anyway) then tries to learn to use the curse to her advantage but then (of course) endlessly waffles about that over and over again. Seriously. PAINFUL.

Zam’s true curse is that she can’t or won’t think for herself and take responsibility for her own life and choices. Honestly, I think this may be what the author was trying to imply, but the execution of teaching this lesson through the curse does not work. Instead, Zam doesn't learn to trust herself, what she "learns" is that she should do the opposite of her impulses in a Costanza-like experiment. Meaning that, to avoid the curse, she must, at all times, wish for the exact opposite of what she wants to happen. The idea that this would be sustainable for any amount of time, or that it is teaching a valuable lesson, is preposterous! Instead of just learning that life is life and you do the best you can with what you’re given, Zam learns to constantly live in expectation always assuming that what she wants to happen is the right thing and then wishing for that not to happen so it will happen.


This feels like a work of love to me; meaning that, I don’t think any of these things are necessarily due to lack of effort or care on the author’s part. I think they are due to a lack of outside input. Perhaps there were no betareaders or editor. Or, if there were, maybe they did not provide honest feedback, were too close to the material to see the flaws, or the author chose not to incorporate any of their feedback. I have no idea. But, lack of outside input is the only explanation I can think of for the kinds of errors described above. The author was lost in her own head, held some ideas too closely, and kept trying to incorporate things that didn’t work, all of which left her unable to maintain or execute the story properly. Essentially, this reads like an unedited second draft to me.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,733 reviews648 followers
May 21, 2019
"Zamira, there are times you must take a chance. You. Because maybe tomorrow, you might not be alive. Live for the moment. In order to get up each day and face the darkness—you need to embrace the moments of joy in life. One day, the inevitable will come for you and you will have no more todays. Death was always waiting, and I knew it better than most."

“I closed my eyes and let myself listen to the cat inside me. She was curious, pushing me to go look. My instincts when I’d listened to them had rarely been good in the past, but something told me I had to check out the noise."

I gave into an impulse and read an Amazon “sample” on my Kindle. I wasn’t prepared for how well Mayer crafted her opening scene. It was as good in its way as the opening of the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark…and I don’t hand out such praise often. Mayer is careful to give us action first and explanations later. We come to learn that Zamira is a shapeshifter in an Earth where supernatural species are kept from humans by a magical wall (yes, created by someone named Merlin) dividing the planet.

Zamira is the focus of the story, but we learn what she is and what she is capable of, only incrementally. (Here is how she describes herself.) “I’m the runt, Merlin. Just like Lila here.” She gave a little wave with one wing tip as she bit into a slice of meat. “I have my place in this world, and it isn’t as a hero. A savior. Or as a wall breaker.” Damn it, where had that last bit come from? My father and the memories were spilling up through me after years of suppressing them. I wanted to bite those words back and swallow them whole, but it was too late. It had slipped out. Merlin smiled at me. “That is exactly what you are, Zamira the Reckless. A Wall Breaker."

And a shapeshifter - "I glanced back as I stepped under the cover of the trees. Maks had done as I asked and continued onward. Which was good. Because I didn’t like anyone seeing my shifted form and realizing just how small and weak I truly was."

The “Supes” (supernatural beings) have a dismissive attitude toward the human race. "Humans were so many things and none of them good in my opinion. Useless, prideful, stupid. I mean, I got what Bryce was thinking. It would be no big loss for Maks to die. Not really. And if he managed to help me a little along the way, I could understand what my brother was thinking. The problem was I knew I could move faster on my own. Never mind the whole issue of whether or not I could trust Maks—the short answer was I couldn’t. No human could be trusted. No matter how pretty his blue eyes were."

“You don’t understand this world, human. Saving someone’s life here is no small thing. You don’t turn on them, no matter what, until at the very least that debt is repaid. No matter if it costs you your life or the life of someone you love, if it costs you your marriage, or your brother’s respect, your values or anything else you might hold dear. You do not turn on them. You just don’t. You repay the debt, and that’s all there is to that, Maks."

There is plenty of action and the storyline is going to be a series of missions over the course of several books. Not a bad start at a saga. 3.5* rounded up
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,937 reviews1,548 followers
Shelved as 'unfinished'
June 6, 2022
I didn't realize this was epic fantasy before picking it up. The marketing read "Urban Fantasy" to me for some reason; maybe I picked up that it's post-modern era (with shotguns and grenades as well as magic and shifters)? But it is firmly epic fantasy and that's a flavor I fell out with long ago for reasons that are completely mysterious to me.

Which is a shame because I like Zamira. And her friend Lila and the companion, maybe-friend Maks (Max?) were interesting and engaging. But I can't get past my genre prejudice, even after making it two-thirds through the book.

I'm tempted to rate it down for my misread—like my misread is the book's fault. But looking at it, I don't think so. So no rating because the fault was on my end and I'm not going to punish anyone else for my mistake.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews753 followers
December 6, 2018
This was such an unexpected gem and I’m so happy my aunt sent it my way. It’s not something I normally would have picked up but I ended up absolutely loving it! Shapeshifters, dragons and jinns? Sign me up!!! This book was so original, I’ve never seen this combination of supernatural beings and I absolutely dig it. I also really love that our main character is so much more than she seems, it goes to show that appearances aren’t everything and that even though she’s small, she is damn fierce! My only small complaint is that in some places it went a bit overboard with the descriptions but other than that, loved it!
Profile Image for Melike.
385 reviews
December 6, 2019
3.5 stars
I liked Zamira, she was pretty kick ass, and I adored her friend Lila, the little dragon runt. Besides that though the story was kinda boring and world building was weak. I am not sure if I will continue he series.
Profile Image for Stacy.
1,330 reviews63 followers
January 27, 2018
If I'm to be honest, I must start off by saying that If I had known that WITCH'S REIGN was part of the Venom world, I would not not have given it a chance. Thankfully there is only one mention of 'super dupers' in WITCH'S REIGN.

WITCH'S REIGN is part of the same world as Shannon's Venom series—even has some of the same characters—, but it feels different. Which in my book is actually a good start. Unfortunately I feel that we are missing a lot of information. Some backstory is explained and some secrets are revealed, but I always felt like something was being left out.

Let's talk about some of the characters. Zamira is an interesting character that I need to know more about before I can say if I really like her. I mean, for the most part I like what I know so far, but I feel like I need all the information that hasn't been revealed yet. I actually liked Maks—her 'partner' for most of the book— even with his secrets and look forward to finding out more about him. I also want to know more about Zamira's brother, I hope he has more of a spot in book two. I hated Steve from the start and won't be the slightest bit sad if he's killed off quickly along with his 'mate'. I love a good sidekick, but i felt that Zamira was a little too attached and trusting of Lila a little too quickly. I thought Lila was neat and definitely has potential, but I would have just liked to see a little more time go by before there was blind faith there. Especially due to what Lila was and who her loyalties ultimately are to.

I defiantly feel like WITCH'S REIGN has potential, but I'm not hooked yet.

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,193 reviews290 followers
May 26, 2022
2.5 ish
Well, this was disappointing

I've been waiting to read this series for ages, I was sure I'll love it, adore it, hug it, make it my best friend.

Wasn't the case...
It was a bit boring, sometimes annoying, and felt like it was written for a 12-year-old.

Still, I love the author, I'll go on, maybe it'll get better?
Profile Image for Victoria (nocturnalintimacy).
1,965 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2018
Kindle Unlimited.
The world building could have been better. I'm still a little confused about it, to be honest. It's INTERESTING, but confusing. I want to keep reading, to find out what happens to the characters, and in the world overall.

As far as characters go, they were ok. I liked Maks most, even though he hardly spoke.

I don't understand the Steve thing. What's so great about him that all three females fell for him? Eww.

I don't understand Bryce's bitterness towards his sister. If he was so against what Ish was doing, why didn't he leave? Why would he hold Zamira's theft against her?
Profile Image for Tammy.
1,719 reviews77 followers
March 10, 2018
There's nothing wrong with Witch's Reign in terms of writing or anything else except that it's a spin-off and because I have zero experience with Shannon Mayer's books at all I felt like I wasn't really into it. I tried to go with the flow while reading but somehow I just couldn't fully enjoy it, not that there's a lot of references to those books but it's like I missed something. You know how sometimes it's just "click" with someone or something? yeah, this book just doesn't "click" with me.
Profile Image for Al *the semi serial series skipper*.
1,658 reviews666 followers
February 16, 2019
I liked Zamira, I know she was too forgiving to the people around her but it's easy to understand why and because of that I could overlook it, even when it got annoying.

I hope she finds a balance between being too forgiving and not. I really want her to kick the asses of the people that have done her wrong, including her brother and Darcy.
Profile Image for Michele.
144 reviews1 follower
May 17, 2018
There are so many reviews here I am sure this will get lost. I loved this book. The characters were so real that I was happy to let them in my mind. I have so many questions at the end that I kept hoping there was more pages I was missing. So yes the series will be read in full. It was so good to see the underdog allow others in her heart. I won this book as part of a give away and it is signed. It will go in my shelf of honor and I have another great author to follow.
Profile Image for Francesca.
2,066 reviews146 followers
April 9, 2023
L’univers est intéressant mais le rythme est un peu trop lent à mon goût. L’héroïne se déprécie tout le long et se fait piétiner par tout le monde.
117 reviews
February 14, 2018
Wary of reading next one...

This was my introduction to this author. I really had high expectations since it was recommended by an author I enjoy, but it took me longer than it really should have to get through this book. Checking out the ratings it seems like I am in the minority so perhaps it’s just comes down to personal preferences.

So many of the characters were not worth liking - specifically Kiara, Steve and Darcy. Drunk or not Darcy is not like family and worth the likelihood of being killed after she betrayed Zam like that. Wouldn’t want her to die, but wouldn’t be marching off to what I think will be almost certain death to prove I had forgiven her either. Steve and his mate Kiara. No words for how low these two will sink. Who really takes the cake? Bryce does because he’s Zam’s brother, yet he keeps critical information from her that has affected how she views herself and wants her to risk her life for a woman he loves who betrayed his sister. Who does that? Perhaps my extreme dislike for these characters was the poison pill that tanked this for me and not the story. IDK.

Zam also irks me because no matter what she gives all of them a pass on bad behavior. Darcy was drunk but is like family and my best friend. Kiara was young and groomed. “She was a nice kid and I liked her”. Really? My brother doesn’t treat me well because he doesn’t understand why I’ve made certain choices in my life, doesn’t act as if he loves me and asks me to risk my life. But he’s family and my Alpha. Again, really? What is the author trying to accomplish with these characters? Was she trying to make me believe their behavior is a part of Zam’s curse or that Zam was okay being a doormat because she’s ultimately is the bigger person? Either way it didn’t work for me.

If you can get pass all that, then you’re still faced with an author trying to confound you so much that she tries to inundate you with information and sleights of hand, but if you throw out most of what is being said you’ll see the twists and “truth bombshells” coming a mile away. Don’t get me started on the interactions, conversations and word usage like super dupers. Face palm. Maybe the second book will be better, but if it’s not I’ll give any books thereafter a hard pass.
Profile Image for Karen  ⚜Mess⚜.
726 reviews45 followers
December 8, 2018
Indiana Jones battles the White Witch of Narnia

Not exactly, but it has the same classic feel good to it.

Shannon Mayer, what a fantastic writer you are! Hilariously fun book! There were some quotes in there that gave me a good belly ache laugh. Where does she come up with this stuff?

I love hating Steve and Kiara. I adored the trio bond between Zamira, Lila and Maks and I can't wait to read more about them.

A very colorful, creative story full of mistakes and bonding. I think there's just about every paranormal you can think of, except sea creatures. With the story geographically located around the Caspian Sea, I bet we'll get some mythical sea creatures eventually.

Profile Image for Curly's  Ramblings.
1,734 reviews7 followers
May 2, 2018
Witch’s Reign is set in the Rylee Adamson world. Ms. Mayer includes characters we’ve met previously such as Alex (from the Rylee Adamson series) and Merlin & Flora (from the Venom Trilogy) very seamlessly. Zamira, a downtrodden feline shifter beaten down by self loathing and an ex-lover, finds herself in insurmountable odds at every turn. The story will have you sitting at the end of your seat hollering and rooting for the underdogs as Zamira faces down enemies much stronger and bigger than she is in her human and shifted forms. There is non-stop action right from the start whether it is with an enemy, loved one, or an ex-mate. The witty banter will have you smiling and wanting more. I hope to see more from Lyla and Max! Great story with excitement from the very start and I’m looking forward to Dragon’s Cursed.
Profile Image for Penny.
2,146 reviews44 followers
February 12, 2018
I have been a fan of Ms. Mayer since I read her Rylee Adamson series. And this book in a new series just highlights why. She is an excellent writer, her plots are interesting, and her characters are strong. In this book, we are introduced to Zamira who is shapeshifter and steals for a living but for good reasons. When one of her teammates goes missing, she sets off with another teammate to rescue her. The book was full of action and had many interesting twists, some of which I didn’t see coming. I do have to admit that while I really liked Zamira, she did show a little bit of prejudice against some people. She should have known better. However, I think by the end, she was coming around. And, I just loved Maks and Lila as side characters; I can’t wait to find out more, although I suspect something about Maks. On the other hand, Steve was a very interesting “villain” who I just absolutely loathed. But, I love how Ms. Mayer brings out emotions in me with fictional characters. After finishing this book, I’m left with a sad feeling as I really want to know what happens next. If you like urban fantasy, you really need to try this one! Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Debbie Turk.
1,477 reviews16 followers
January 31, 2018
This story is full of of pace with twists & turns along with friendships made, broken & some heating up to possible romance in the future!!

I liked the female heroine, Zamira, she is fierce of heart though she lacks self belief due her differences from her family. She has an unrelenting need to help those who can't help themselves even if it's likely to cause her end!!!

I've only rated this book 3.5 stars as it feels like I was reading a book that was part way into a series. Things we're discussed, about her marriage for instance, that wasn't a part of this book. It left me feeling I'd missed out on a previous book 😟

Overall this was a fast paced & interesting tale that kept me turning the pages. It REALLY picked up once Lila came on the scene 👍

Debbie, 1970, UK
Profile Image for Moon .
3,290 reviews206 followers
April 29, 2018
How have I never read Shannon before?! I picked this book up on a whim because I was looking for something with dragons and stumbled onto this instead and then proceeded to devour it in two hours. If I didn't have things to do, I'd be starting book two right away and as it is, I'm debating on how badly I actually need to leave the house let alone wash my hair. The book is that good!

But don't take my word for it, pick it up and check it out. I doubt you'll be able to resist it any more than I was!
Profile Image for Chinji.
107 reviews10 followers
March 27, 2020
Un début très étonnant, mais un excellent livre ! C’est différent de ce que j’ai l’habitude de lire ! C’est plus violent, plus effrayant, plus surprenant ! La forte présence des chevaux m’a énormément plu. Les personnages sont ultra intéressants et bien construits ! L’intrigue est dingue. Je n’ai rien vu venir, rien du tout. Tellement bien mené, tellement bien ficelé !
Profile Image for Robbin.
742 reviews41 followers
April 21, 2018
I really enjoyed reading this book a lot more than I thought I was going to. I wasn’t sure at first because it takes a while to warm up to the story and characters but I really enjoyed it. There was so many twists and turns I really had no idea what was going to happen next. Next one please !
Profile Image for anjuli.
394 reviews18 followers
May 7, 2018
I wanted to love this book so much. However, I did not feel it. I enjoyed it enough to finish the book but, I had to really motivate myself at times. Part of it was it took forever to feel like something was going on. I somewhat liked the characters but, I did not feel the emotional depth for them. And, that is sad. I liked Zam, she was sort of reckless and cursed. However, the story and world building started in the middle or it sort of felt like it. I did not feel the build up for it and it lacked depth.

I loved Lila, the little dragon. But, I didn't feel the connection between Maks and Zam as the author wanted us to believe or follow. There was no tension despite Zam kept referring to the wonderful blue eyes & somewhat developing feelings for a mere human. Despite all the mystery surrounding Maks, I had already guessed who he was. Oh I forgot to mention, random Merlin and him being in conversation with another woman interrupting the flow of the book. Yes, THAT Merlin. Again, I had no idea as to how he fit into the story and was somehow meddling with Zam from the outside. The plot was all over the place a bit.

Overall, it is a good enough read but, I'm not sure if I am motivated enough to continue with the series at this time.
Profile Image for Theresa .
1,360 reviews75 followers
November 17, 2018
3.5 Stars... There was much to like about this book; the world building was beautifully crafted and intricately woven filled with shapeshifters, witches, Jinn, and dragons... The characters and their relationships were multi - layered and charismatic adding levels of intrigue to the story... The storyline itself was action packed adventure from the start and twisted and turned the reader through the journey until the very end... The only aspect that I struggled with was moments in the dialogue that were, for lack of a better word, “corny” and, at times, abrasive making the characters swing from foolish to jaded within a sentence... It just seemed to take away from the potential of the story and the depth of the characters... I will continue with the series because this read hooked me enough that I want to see where the storyline goes.:)
Profile Image for Ashley.
220 reviews35 followers
October 8, 2018
This author has the best covers. I bought the audios for all 3 of the books out in this series and the Aimless Witch book based on the covers alone before I read any of them. I really liked that these covers didn't have the chick standing in the wind with a weapon like every other of this type of book, I figured maybe the book would be different too, and it was! So I was happy.

I really liked this one, but I think the rest of the series is set up to be even better after this one. I liked Zam and Lyla and Max, and the world that they lived in. I hated Steve. Merlin is so mysterious, I can't wait to see what part he plays in the rest of this series. I'll be starting the second one soon!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 612 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.