the line

Title: The Line (Witching Savannah #1)

Author: J. D. Horn

Category: Fantasy

Published: February 1, 2014 by 47North

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Savannah is considered a Southern treasure, a city of beauty with a rich, colorful past. Some might even call it magical…To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South.Despite being powerless herself, of course.Having grown up without magic of her own, in the shadow of her talented and charismatic twin sister, Mercy has always thought herself content. But when a series of mishaps—culminating in the death of the Taylor matriarch—leaves a vacuum in the mystical underpinnings of Savannah, she finds herself thrust into a mystery that could shake her family apart…and unleash a darkness the line of Taylor witches has been keeping at bay for generations.

The Line probably doesn’t actually deserve a 5 star rating. It’s not a great book, but for me it was engrossing and honestly hard for me to put down, something that hasn’t happened often lately.  We’ve got witches and evil spirits, magic and blood, secrets and lies. There are flaws, but the book overall is so enjoyable I could overlook them.

Savannah is the perfect setting for this story, and I love that when we first meet Mercy, she’s leading a Liar’s Tour of the town. Ghost tours are old hat in historical tourist towns, but I love the idea of the liar’s tour, telling not true stories that people still half believe. Mercy is a good character, she’s powerless in a family of witches, and left out of the loop most of the time, but when Ginny, the matriarch of the family is killed, she’s pulled into the middle of the mystery and of the fight over who will fill Ginny’s place.

The book keeps moving along, keeps the suspense going. The reader, like Mercy, doesn’t know who to trust. Her family has apparently been lying to her for years, and she has a minor crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Mercy makes the mistake of going to the local Hoodoo root doctor, Mother Jilo, for a love spell to make her fall in love with her boyfriend, or maybe it’s good that she did. While Mother Jilo may not be on the Taylors’ side, she does give Mercy some advice and help. I liked their interactions. Mother Jilo is not a witch, but man does she have some power. Mercy realizes that and respects her, unlike the rest of Mercy’s family who tend to look down Mother Jilo as someone who has to “borrow” power, who doesn’t naturally have any of her own.

The novel’s characters, Mercy’s aunts and uncles, her sister, and the non-family are all well-drawn and believable for the world. I liked that they have secrets and squabbles just like any family, well at least like any soap opera family. But when it comes down to it, the good ones support each other, and the rotten ones get what’s coming to them.

I’m looking forward to the next in the series. While this one wrapped up its main line, there are several things going on that need longer to resolve. I’ll be interested in seeing how it plays out for Mercy and her family.

Witching Savannah Series

  1. The Line
  2. The Source (expected July 15, 2014)