In an instant I was drawn into the story without knowing what to expect, and despite some pacing issues and character incongruities, this book did not disappoint. Eliza is a cleverly drawn, quiet, rather somber 16 year old girl, living with her aunt after her mother’s disappearance with no trace some six years earlier. Rather used to being on her own, or quietly passing time with her two friends, she is intelligent and rather sharp witted despite the great loss.
A new boy arrives in school, and instantly, dreams or nightmares long forgotten are suddenly creating chaos in her life, and this new arrival to town isn’t helping matters any. Inexplicably drawn to Ren, while simultaneously repulsed by the nightmares that appear with his proximity, the story then takes a huge leap into the paranormal ride that is part roller coaster, part hesitant flirtation and wholly entertaining.
Eliza is a witch of great potential, none of which she understood until Ren is able to explain some of the story to her. From that point forward, her abilities are slowly revealed in a series of high-tension events, where Eliza must rely on wits, intuition and some basic training to survive.
Where I found some difficulties with the story was in the pacing. With only one exception, there is not a single instance where Eliza is faced with her fears or needs to use her powers that could not be wholly catastrophic for herself, or those around her. This wasn’t an immersion into witchcraft by dipping your toes in, it was tossing a non-swimmer into the deep end and expecting their wits and instinct to carry them through. With the concerted emphasis from all the senior level witches in the story extolling the virtues of ‘practice’, there wasn’t a huge emphasis spent on it. Additionally, while one of Eliza’s specific talents is the ability to erase memories, her reaction of guilt, horror and even regret felt far more appropriate than Ren’s continued insistence that it was ‘intention’ that made the difference between right and wrong in adjusting memories. Yes, the ability to bend wills did provide Eliza with a specific upside in the climactic confrontation, but as it was one of only two skills she knew well, it rather left her without choice. This constant moments of breathe in between moments of heart-stopping action and danger were jarring, and made the slower moments even more so in contrast.
This is, after all, a story that combines the reality of a teen’s life, with one of those tentative romance against convention and rules, school friends who are unknowing, and some truly unique approaches to magic, it’s history, lore and infighting that I can see many readers finding it both interesting and entertaining. Add in the specific sense and feel of the outer banks and the Gullah people, and Eliza’s ties to both; the promise of a stronger romance and more challenges and learning to come leave me curious and excited about the next book.
I received an eBook copy for the author for purpose of honest review for Full Moon Bites tours. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.