Series: Witching Savannah #1
Published by 47North on February 1, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women
Move over, Sookie Stackhouse—the witches of Savannah are the new talk of the South. Bold, flirty, and with a touch of darkness, debut author J.D. Horn spins a mesmerizing tale of a family of witches . . . and the problem that can arise from being so powerful. As Charlaine Harris’ series winds down—and as Deborah Harkness’ series heats up—Witching Savannah is new contemporary fantasy that will be sure to enchant new readers.
Mercy Taylor, the youngest member of Savannah’s preeminent witching family, was born without the gift of magic. She is accustomed to coming in a distant second to the minutes older, exquisite and gifted twin she adores. Hopelessly in love with her sister’s boyfriend, she goes to a Hoodoo root doctor for a love spell. A spell that will turn her heart to another man, the best friend who has loved her since childhood.
Aunt Ginny, the family’s matriarch, would not approve. But Mercy has more to worry about than a love triangle when Aunt Ginny is brutally murdered. Ginny was the Taylor family’s high commander in the defense of the bewitched line that separates humankind from the demons who once ruled our realm.
A demon invasion looms now that the line is compromised. Worse yet, some within the witching world stand to gain from a demon takeover. Mercy, entangled in the dark magic of her love spell, fighting for her sister’s trust, and hopelessly without magic, must tap the strength born from being an outcast to protect the line she doesn’t feel a part of...
In this riveting contemporary fantasy, Horn delivers the full betrayal, blood, and familial discord of the best of Southern gothic.
~ One of my favorite opening scenes that I’ve read in a long time- Mercy runs a Liars Tour of Savannah where she takes groups of tourists on a tour of the city, making up lies along the way. I honestly want to go on this tour!
~ Unlike New Orleans with it’s Voodoo magic, there are practitioners of Hoodoo magic in Savannah. Hoodoo is also called root magic because it’s believed to be rooting in the Bible, therefore people who practice it like Mother Jilo are called root doctors. See, books do teach you things!
~ As much as I loved the first chapter, the second one felt a bit jarring and out of sync. I feel like there needed to be a bridge between the chapters. But that said, Mother Jilo is an awesome character, and I very much enjoyed Mercy’s meeting with her. Also, really, Mercy, what did you think was going to happen when you visit the Hoodoo doctor that has a grudge against your family?
~ Mother Jilo runs her business from a cemetery. The use of a cemetery setting ups the coolness factor in any book I read.
~ I found the whole history of the Taylor family and the Line to be interesting- the way the witches swung our world out of reach of the demons and keep watch over the Line, which is a kind of barrier and not really a line, keeping demons away.
~ I would have liked to know more about the 13 families and the falling out that led to 3 of them leaving the alliance, but since this is only the first book, I’m going to be patient.
~ Love Squared! Lemme set this up for you: Maisie is Mercy’s fraternal twin sister. Maisie dates Jackson. Mercy dates Peter (who has special eyes). Mercy also lusts after Jackson. Even though Jackson is dating Maisie, he definitely sends some wonky signals Mercy’s way.
~ I liked Peter, but I never got a feel for why Maisie and Mercy would be in love with Jackson- it was told rather than shown, but we also come into the love square after it’s already in progress. I do like that Mercy always tries very hard to do the right, decent person thing to do, which is why she goes to Mother Jilo in the first place.
~ Despite all the A Midsummer’s Night Dream romance plot, there is a lot more to this story, mostly Mercy realizing the truth behind her family’s facade. But I have a feeling that there’s even more to reveal as the series continues.
~ At times the book and plot move almost too quickly, and there are plot twists galore. Which is kind of fun, because I literally was like “Plot twist!” towards the end of the book, but we also don’t get to linger long with any new revelation. Also, a lot of the plot twists are revealed through narration alone.
~ I liked Uncle Oliver and his story… up until a certain reveal of a past misdeed. Mercy is forgiving of him, but I wish the author hadn’t made his deed so heinous, because it really took away from who I thought Oliver was and I doubt I’ll be able to like his character as much from here on out.
~ Some of my very favorite scenes in the book are when Mercy interacts with Mother Jilo. I like that she’s the one character that is open about the fact that she’s not always trust worthy. Mercy is a bit too naive, especially in light of all the truths she keeps uncovering, so I’m okay with any deception that Mother Jilo uses.
~ The last 10 or so percent of this book was like whiplash from all the reveals, but it’s got me curious as to what the author plans for the next book.
~ The writing is a bit uneven, as was the dialogue. At times it felt like this book would have worked better as a YA novel, but at other times is works as Adult fiction. Some of the characters were a bit unrealistic, Connor for instance. But for me there was enough to love to make this a worth while read.
~ I like that Peter isn’t a complete saint, and I definitely look forward to more of him (and maybe his family’s Irish restaurant, please?) in book 2.
~ This book has an ending. It sets up book 2, but it’s not an annoying cliff hanger. So happy about that!
~ I have lots of extra notes, but most of them are going to be kept for my benefit since they are huge spoilers, and part of the fun of this book is the secrets.
Mercy Taylor- the non-magical heroine of a very magical family.
Maisie Taylor- Mercy’s golden and magical sister.
Mother Jilo- Hoodoo root doctor, and my favorite character.
Ellen- Mercy’s aunt, healer, and still grieving the loss of her husband and son.
Jackson- Maisie’s boyfriend, although Mercy longs for him too.
Peter- very much in love with Mercy, more so than she is with him.
Iris- Mercy’s other aunt, has helped raise the sisters.
Connor- husband to Iris. Is a doucenozzle.
Great Aunt Ginny- the family matriarch and anchor. Not the warm and fuzzy kind of great aunt.
Oliver- charming, debonair and seductive uncle to Mercy and Maisie.
Det. Cook- Oliver’s ex-boyfriend, investigating the murder of a Taylor family member.
Wren- imaginary friend of the family
Emmet Clay- my other favorite character… he’s a golem.
Both my midnight moments involve flames- the first is the birthday present that Maisie gives to Mercy- where each candle flame contains a shared memory, that was a lovely piece of magic and it charmed me. The second incident is Mercy’s encounter with fire elementals. Fire scares the crap out of me usually, so I wasn’t expecting what happened.
Oh, and the possession scene was really awesome, but I don’t want to spoil it!
Stop the Clock:
At times the book is a bit uneven, and Mercy and a few other characters could use some fleshing out, but I love the magic in this book. Savannah is brought to life, especially in the beginning, and I plan on continuing this series.
J.D. Horn— Website |Facebook Page
The Line (Witching Savannah #1) gets a Midnight Book rating of: