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Paranormal Fantasy Joint Review: The Line by J.D. Horn

The Line by J.D. Horn (Witching Savannah #1)


Ecopy thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£2.49) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

8/10

7/10

 * * *

Karina:
Well, I'm eating my hat now. First of I didn't like this book, ladies and gents. It took awhile to get used to somewhat detached writing style. The emotional accents were not where I was expecting them. But... in the end the whole experience was awesome. J.D. created a story rich in flavour, intensely atmospheric and full of unexpected twists. 

What do you think, V.? What were you initial impressions on the book?


Vika:
Okay, so first impression – I might have fallen asleep reading the first couple chapters, but perhaps it wasn’t the book’s fault. Admittedly, I was a tad tired and it was quite late at night. So after I recovered the book picked up quite a bit and the story definitely got my attention. It was a fast read.

Savannah served as a beautiful backdrop to the story, and the characters’ voices were unmistakably southern – I quite liked that actually. And perhaps because of its setting and a somewhat similar storyline of a witch coming into her own power and the conflict between good and bad it strongly reminded me of The Beautiful Creatures, which I haven’t read but I did see that movie... In any way, I wouldn’t say I loved it per se but there was definitely something there. I might have to contemplate it a bit longer.
 
Karina:
I know where you're coming from, V. There is plenty of potential, but at the same time the main heroine, Mercy, is going through major changes way too fast and plot twists are all over the place. There is also not enough emotional development and background story, however there is certain brilliance in secondary characters, for example, Oliver and Jilo.

If it was an urban fantasy, the pace would have been perfect, but with the publishers comparing it with Deborah Harkness's trilogy... no, just no. This is pretty misleading.

Mercy is a very nice character. Not having an ounce of magic of her own (with all the magic going to her twin) she leads a healthy life away from the Taylors’ intrigues, but when her aunt is murdered and the time comes to choose another anchor for The Line - a magical barrier between demonic worlds and Earth, the magic somehow keeps trying to choose her. Add to it an investigation into her aunt's death, a love spell gone wrong and unexpected jealousy and turbulent, violent feelings from Mercy's twin, and her normal life ends pretty quickly.

Vika:
I couldn’t agree more with you K. There was a lot going on. Potential was there but the execution was at fault here. It felt like the author had too many great ideas and tried to squeeze them all in this book; it lacked development, at least for my taste.

I also couldn’t bring myself to care for Mercy much. I just got a sense that she passed through life and accepted everything life handed her with the same air of nonchalance. Mother Jilo on the other hand – fascinating – I want to read her story! And then there were the rest of the Taylors, talk about dysfunctional family… Still, I was entertained!

Karina:
I admit, I was also sceptical about Mercy’s relationship with her twin, Maisie. As twins they suppose to share a deep bond, so I can't see how Mercy stayed clueless about the changes happening to her sister. Jackson - Peter dynamics were too vague for my taste as well. *sigh*

Still, this was crazily atmospheric! I am giving this book 8/10 because from urban fantasy point of view The Line was wildly entertaining and I hope next book by J.D. Horn will be even better.

Vika:
Agreed. I'm not rating this one as high, I liked it but it was far from "loved it" type of read for me, so 7/10. Still, I'm curious to see what happens next. I just read description of The Source, second book in the series, which will be out this summer, and I’m quite intrigued!

* * *
Карина:
У меня от Линии остались двоякие впечатления, дамы и господа. С одной стороны амбициозные заявления издателя "посторонись, Дебора Харкнесс, для Дж. Д. Хорна!" вызвали раздражение, потому как кроме ведьм между этими книгами нет ничего общего.

С другой стороны, несмотря на эмоциональную холодность повествования, Линия напичкана экшном и классными поворотами сюжета, так что я невольно ею наслаждалась.

Вика, как ты думаешь?

Вика:
Да уж, эта книга была просто напичкана неожиданными поворотами, что было и хорошо и плохо. Читая, у меня было такое ощущение, что у автора было слишком много хороших идей, которые он попытался втиснуть в эту книгу. Количество конечно хорошо, но от этого пострадало качество на мой взгляд, так как далеко не все идеи были достаточно развиты.

Несмотря на все, в целом Линия оставила приятное впечатление. Саванна послужила прекрасным фоном для рассказа, и отчетливо южный диалект персонажей мне очень понравился. Сам сюжет мне чем-то напомнил Прекрасные Создания, роман который экранизировали в прошлом году. Но как и Карина я бы не стала сравнивать эту книгу с серией Все Души Деборы Харкнесс.

Карина:
Главная героиня, Мерси, родилась лишённой магии в прославленной семье ведьм, тогда как её двойняшка Мэйзи оказалась очень могущественной колдуньей. Она счастливо живёт нормальной жизнью вдали от экцентричных родственничков, тогда как Мэйзи вынуждена с юнного возраста учиться тому, как управлять своим даром.

Когда кто-то убивает её тётку Джинни - главу семейства и якорь магической Линии, сдерживающей демонов от проникновения в наш мир, все предсказывают, что должность якоря перейдёт к Мэйзи, однако магия почему-то пытается выбрать Мерси. Прибавьте к этому чувства Мерси к жениху её близняшки Джексону, любовное вуду, семейные скелеты в шкафу... и скучать читателю не приходится.

Вика:
Мерси как героиня достаточно интересна, но меня она особо не вдохновила и жалости не вызвала. С одной стороны, то что она была лишена магии, дало ей много свободы - она вела достаточно нормальную жизнь по сравнению с Мейзи. С другой, подрастая, Мерси была предоставлена самой себе, вся ее семья практически игнорировала ее и даже хуже - недолюбливала. И вообще семейство Тэйлоров оказалось очень эксцентричным и далеко не из приятных.

Вот Мама Джило, вуду доктор, очень интересный персонаж и мне понравилась. Я бы не отказалась узнать про нее побольше и надеюсь что мы увидим ее и в следующем романе этой серии. 

В целом, впечатления у меня смешанные. Экшн и непредсказуемые повороты сюжета не дали мне скучать, но сами герои и их поступки и приключения были немного сомнительны. Так что, 7/10 в этот раз. Но, забежав немного вперед и прочитав описание Источника, следующей книги серии, которая выйдет этим летом, мне любопытно посмотреть, что же произойдет дальше. 

Карина:
Кроме проблем, названных Викой, в Линии парадоксально не хватало эмоциональных связей между персонажами (парадоксально, потому как обычно такие книги страдают от избытка эмоций). Мерси - Питер ещё работали, но вот Мерси - Джексон - Питер - Мэйзи? Логистика между ними страдала до невозможного. Особенно это непростительно между двойняшками. Они должны быть самыми близкими друг к другу людьми, однако Мерси оказалась слепа к расширяющейся пропасти между нею и её сестрой.

В общем, потенциал есть, задумка отличная, исполнение оставляет желать лучшего. Рекомендую, но с некоторыми колебаниями. 8/10

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