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YA, Paranormal Romance/Fantasy, 332 pages, Flux
- Series: 1st in Witch Eyes series
- Pub date: September 8th 2011
- Why I read it: Action, small town secrets, witches, LGBTQ
- Disclosure: Received an ARC from the Red Balloon Bookstore. Thanks!
Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.The Long...
After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.
To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.
When I wrote about this book for my Best of Paranormal Romance 2011 post, I said it had a cinematic quality, punctuated by (and I quote):
"There's action! Explosions! Crazy powers! Sunglasses! Romance!"
And really, I can't think of a better way to open this review. Witch Eyes is, in short, the perfect corny, silly, romantic, crazy, action-filled sort of read for a rainy day. It's a cult classic B-movie in the making. It's terrific. And I couldn't get enough.
The aspect of the book that has gotten it the most press--its gay hero--was actually one of the least "interesting" aspects of Braden's character, exactly as it should be. There are no soul-wrecking coming-out stories to be found here. Sure, there's a little angst, but in fact it all adds up to less than most straight paranormal romances I can think of. It's a Romeo and Juliet story in pure form, with the warring families of Belle Dam keeping Braden and Trey apart more than any blatant homophobia.
In fact, returning to the cult classic theme, Belle Dam is almost a character of itself; oozing with magic and secrets buried deep. Sure, I would liked to have seen it sketched out in a little more depth, but what we got was so fantastically against the typical YA grain that I can't really complain. Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but a little less high school and a little more old money gothic.
My biggest complaint, frankly, was the twists. They weren't exactly a big mystery, and the tension wasn't wound quite tight enough to make up for it. Still, Witch Eyes was easily one of my most entertaining reads of 2011, and it's a great example of what paranormal romance can be when it steps off the beaten path.
...and the Short:
A terrific, cult-classic sort of read that had me cheering all the way. Bring on book 2!
The Final Word: Loved it!