Elodie is no longer the naive young woman summoned to the Black Oak Cottage and although she's wisened to the world of sorcery and alchemy, the young apprentice is continuously experimenting with her newfound abilities under Aleida's guidance. Elodie has the ability to inhabit the body of wildlife and birds, often soaring high about the landscape and observing their journey from the skies. Unlike Aleida, Elodie also has the ability to walk between worlds, opening a fissure and guided by an ethereal sprite.
Aleida slayed Gyssha Blackbone and the protege has now become the mentor, albeit cursed by her predecessor. Weakened by the fissure opening to the otherworld, Aleida and Elodie depart the cottage, along the journey they meet the stoic and resolute Kara, being held at the local abbey since her father disappeared. Armed with her sword, Kara has enlisted the aid of local bandits to escape and is searching for her father, an outlaw masquerading as a mercenary while throughout the arduous, backbreaking landscape, an otherworldly disturbance is gathering. Men have become monsters, manipulated by a mage taking shelter in the desolate mountains.
Kara is an interesting character, surly and unapologetically ambitious. Kara has been unwillingly taken into the care of the abbey, devising her escape to find her father as the arrival of Aleida and Elodie provides the opportunity to disappear under the cover of darkness. Although her father is an outlaw, Kara remembers her father for his kindness, a gentle father and loyal friend and after Elodie's insistence, Aleida reluctantly agrees to assist the young brusque woman. The conflict and intensity within Elodie and Aleida's tentative friendship emanates from Kara and their conflicting opinions. Elodie's humble beginnings have resurfaced as a humanitarian crusade, playing the role of saviour especially where Kara is concerned. She constantly undermines Aleida, questioning her judgement and expertise. It's frustrating but an important learning moment for Elodie, it also brought out a compassionate and gentleness from Aleida who masks her emotions.
The subtle attraction between Elodie and Kara is enchanting, although it seems to impair Elodie's judgement and her ability to make rational decisions. Given her interest in Kian in A Curse of Ash and Embers, Elodie may identify as being bisexual. Friendship and sisterhood are the central focus of the Witches of Blackbone series, independent women in an environment where women are chaperoned by men, often dominated by men and their significance determined by men. Capable women with the ability to slain grown men, those who share a quiet resilience, who encourage and endure. The sisterhood who are reclaiming their sovereignty.