Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: The Water Witch by Juliet Dark


After casting out a dark spirit, Callie McFay, a professor of gothic literature, has at last restored a semblance of calm to her rambling Victorian house. But in the nearby thicket of the honeysuckle forest, and in the currents of the rushing Undine stream, more trouble is stirring. . . .

The enchanted town of Fairwick’s dazzling mix of mythical creatures has come under siege from the Grove: a sinister group of witches determined to banish the fey back to their ancestral land. With factions turning on one another, all are cruelly forced to take sides. Callie’s grandmother, a prominent Grove member, demands her granddaughter’s compliance, but half-witch/half-fey Callie can hardly betray her friends and colleagues at the college. To stave off disaster, Callie enlists Duncan Laird, an alluring seductive academic who cultivates her vast magical potential, but to what end? Deeply conflicted, Callie struggles to save her beloved Fairwick, dangerously pushing her extraordinary powers to the limit—risking all, even the needs of her own passionate heart.

Ballantine Books | February 12, 2013 | 352 pages

My Review

3.5 Stars

The Water Witch, the second novel in Juliet Dark's Fairwick Chronicles Trilogy, picks up six months after the events of the trilogy's first installment, The Demon Lover (click here to read my review).  The focus of this novel is on an attempt by the Grove, a society of witches, to close the last remaining door connecting the human world with the world of the fey.  This door is found in Fairwick, a small town in upstate New York that is home to many fey.  As a door-keeper, Callie McFay, a half-witch/half-fey professor at Fairwick College, does not support the Grove, even though she herself is a member.  Helping to stop the Grove, however, requires Callie to successfully unlock her astonishing powers.  Assistance is provided in the form of Duncan Laird, a powerful warlock to whom Callie is immediately attracted.   But Duncan may not be everything he seems, and Callie finds that heart is still tied to that of the incubus she banished from her life in The Demon Lover. Will Callie succeed in stopping the Grove and ensuring the door between the worlds remains open? 

The strength of this novel, and the series in general, lies in the characters.  Callie McFay is a likeable heroine.  She's smart, strong and willing to do whatever it takes to help her friends. The supporting characters are equally well-drawn and interesting, especially Callie's friends and colleagues, whose interactions with Callie illustrate why she is so willing to help them out even if it puts her own life in jeopardy.  The only character I wish more had been done with is that of Callie's grandmother, an important member of the Grove who I don't find to be fleshed out as well as some of the novel's other characters.   Given Callie was raised by her grandmother, and the two are at odds over the intended closing of the door, I would also have liked to see more interaction between them. 

The novel is well-written and, as a result, the plot moves along relatively quickly.  While I liked the premise of this novel more so than I did the first installment in the series, I did grow increasingly tired of reading about Callie's rather erotic dreams involving her exiled lover.   In addition, while I enjoyed learning about the fey and the world from which they come, I didn't particularly enjoy the sections of the novel involving Callie's visits to the land of the fey, which jolted me out of the main story.  For this reason I haven't rated The Water Witch quite as highly as I did The Demon Lover.   Nevertheless, I am looking forward to reading the conclusion to this trilogy.

Recommended to fans of paranormal romance. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.