Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey


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.

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.


The summary alone forced me to move Witch Eyes to the top of my reading list. Bradon's power (or curse) to see past memories and the seemingly invisible spells cast on him is something I have always wanted to see in YA but rarely have. In my mind, it isn't the type of power that makes a person extraordinarily strong, but it does make a person valuable. Valuable people equal action. Action, if done right, equals a good book. All this depended in the Witch Eyes.

     Sadly, even to the end of the book, I could not fully define a witch, the powers that come with the Witch Eyes, or what is in the supernatural universe of Witch Eyes. At the supernatural bits I would try to reread the explanations on how the supernatural works, but the explanations muddled and explained little or nothing about what I needed to know. I gave up on trying to understand the confusing world of the witches in about halfway through the book, that is when it started getting really confusing.

      Bradon's thoughts could sometimes be funny but also erratic. A thought on hot Abercrombie dude becomes pages on explaining Brandon's gayness. The falling-in-love-with-the-enemy's-son thingy looks hard to mess up on, but the romantic side of the plot got old fast. The OMG, a guy this hot has to be straight phase to the OMG, a gay guy this hot can't be my family's century old rival's son did not do much to make me like or connect with Trey. And because the supernatural was a huge part of the romance I barely understood half of who Trey is. It was confusing about how much of the supernatural world he was actually a part of and why.
      It wasn't for me, but the the sarcastic voice of Bandon made me have to read the book through. Although I wont probably pick up the sequel, I could see why die-hard fans of paranormal romance would.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vanish by Sophie Jordan

In Vanish, the second book in the Firelight trilogy, Jacinda returns home to the enclave. But home isn’t home anymore. Kept in a constant lockdown, Jacinda is forced to completely reevaluate the relationships with the people she loves. Seeing Will has become just a fantasy, never to happen, and Cassian isn’t as coldhearted as he used to seem… but when Jacinda is given the impossible chance to meet with Will again, how can she refuse?

Lately all the second books in the trilogies I read have been disappointing. Since Firelight is one of my favorite paranormal romance books ever, I hoped that Vanish could beat the Second Book Slump. Maybe. At first I could almost believe that Vanish had the Slump beaten. In the first chapter, everything is what I expected: fast-paced with crazy awesome twists.

But then Vanish slows down. Nothing, well, Firelight worthy happens. Mostly, Jacinda spends her time mending old relationships and starting new ones—like with Cassian (eww!). The thing about Vanish is that singular events are taken out of proportion and made overly dramatic. Too many chapters are wasted on Jacinda’s thoughts about what she needs to do and grievances over the slights of her community. I wanted something to wow me, but nothing especially pops out.

I’m Team Will. I LOVE the whole hunter-falling-in-love-with-the-hunted thingy. There is so much potential in those kinds of relationships. But Cassian? Who needs him? Though some parts of Vanish really did make me want to go to the dark side (after all, they have cookies), Jacinda and Cassian simply don’t have enough chemistry to convince me that they could be happy together.

So, Vanish doesn’t quite compare to Firelight’s impossibly awesome standards. But I haven’t abandoned the series; based on how Vanish ends, the final book in the Firelight trilogy looks like it’s going to be the best of them all.

You can also view this review on Figment