I admit, a part of me was a bit concerned when the last novel had evil witches as side kicks to the main villain, and I saw that this novel would have evil witches as the main villains. I thought The Dresden Files overdid it with the evil vampires in the early novels, and I was bit worried that using witches as the villains could easily give the series a slightly sexist undertone if the novels portray women magic users as evil witches while the men are good druids (one female apprentice doesn’t exactly change that balance). Fortunately, while Atticus O’Sullivan doesn’t exactly trust the local witches, he forms an alliance with them to battle the greater evil, and shows that while O’Sullivan may have an inherent distrust of their magic, it’s not as easy as saying witches bad as there are various shades of gray.
With the Polish Coven at half strength, other supernatural beings think now is the perfect time to hone in on the Tempe area and claim the territory. Atticus and the remaining members of the Coven have to join forces to keep out the greater evil, including a coven of German witches and Maenads from Las Vegas. The novel also introduces a secret organization that hunts evil beings though guided by religion, they see the world in very black and white terms.
The novel was mostly fun, and Atticus is still dealing with some godly politics as a result of the previous novel. I still find his new apprentice mostly useless and hope she develops a more interesting personality though I enjoy all the other supporting characters. We also get lots of mentions of how everyone hates Thor, and based on some deals and promises made, I expect he will be introduced in one of the next few books of the series. It’s amusing because Rick Riordan’s Norse mythology novels also show that the original Thor was a bit of a jackass but he is just so lovable when played by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel movies (though the arrogant hothead aspect of his personality was very apparent in the first movie). O’Sullivan even notes on this to his Icelandic vampire friend with a vendetta against Thor, and talks about how gods and beings have different manifestations based on how they are viewed by believers and how Marvel has affected Thor in North America.