Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.
Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.
Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.
Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.
Overall Rating: 9/10 stars
Leigh’s Review: 4/5 Stars
If you’re into well-written, dark, sexy, magical/occult stories, go read this book.
First, my thoughts on the trans rep: Ryder is a wonderful, relatable character. No one knows he’s trans, not even his circle of fellow witches, and while Ryder does experience some anxiety about them finding out, it isn’t the focus of the story. When people do find out, no one makes a big to-do out of it. There are some mentions of his injections and his top surgery throughout, but no unnecessary focus or explanation of his decisions or process. He’s trans. He just is. This book is not about him being trans, none of his conflicts or decisions revolve around his transness, his love interest doesn’t steal the show when he finds out… and there are conversations/questions from his cis partner about what’s okay and what’s not. I don’t think the words “trans” or “transgender” are even used in the book at any point.
On the book as a whole: the author drops us straight into a well-developed world with new social structures, powers, and terminology. We hit the ground running and never stop. It feels very much like we are riding along with the characters, experiencing their lives, instead of reading a book. It’s fully immersive. The descriptions read like poetry. I could feel the magic around me. It’s actually amazing, and I found myself taking mental notes to improve my own writing. The immersion has its drawbacks, though.
I knocked a star off because throughout most of the story I felt kind of lost. For the most part it was the kind of lost that keeps you turning pages—dropped hints, a word here or there that makes you go “wait, what? maybe they’ll explain that on the next page.”—you know, suspense. Good writing. But there was a tiny voice in the back of my head through most of the book screaming “What does that mean?!” every time a new term or ritual or power is mentioned. It got a tiny bit frustrating. A lot of it can be sussed out with context clues, but sometimes I like to have things explained to me. Maybe if I knew more about the occult I wouldn’t have been as lost, but I don’t, so I was.
Still, I would highly recommend this book. For trans rep, for writing style, for dark sexiness. It’s engaging and definitely worth your time
Maria’s Review: 5/5 Stars