Sunday, 22 July 2012

White Witch

Author: Trish Milburn
Genre: Supernatural / Young Adult
Type: ebook from NetGalley
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Series: 1st book in The Coven series
Series Order: 1) White Witch  2) Bane  3) Magick (out Sept 2012) 
First Published: March 1, 2012
First Line: "The guy makes his way down the side of the road, near my hiding spot."

Synopsis: Jax Pherson just wants to live a normal life but that's something she can't do within her family.  Jax comes from one of the most powerful dark covens in the USA who deliberately use their power for personal gain and to enslave humans. Jax wholeheartedly disagrees with her coven as did her mother who was murdered in front of Jax' eyes for trying to take Jax away from the dark magic.

Even though the phrase "No one quits the family and lives to tell about it" has been engrained in Jax (as well as the other young witches of her coven) she decides to commit the gravest of sins and leave her coven.  After a lot of planning Jax escapes her family home in Miami and heads to a small town in North Carolina in an attempt to live a normal life free from dark magic.  Knowing that using her powers is the equivalent to placing a homing beacon over her head which will give her whereabouts to her coven Jax decides to live a life without magic.  This also means that Jax will constantly be denying the strong force of dark magic within her. 

Jax quickly settles into life in a small town, enrolling in high school, finding a few friends and even a cute guy who has piqued her interest.  Unfortunately Jax is always aware that her coven, lead by her own father, are searching for her and ready to bring her to justice.  Will they catch up to her before she has a chance at a normal life? 

My Thoughts:  I have read a lot of Young Adult Supernatural reads and I have to admit that this book has a refreshing new take on the typical witch story.  Lately witches have taken on more of a 'good witch' role in books and movies.  I have no beefs with the Hermione Grangers of the witchy world (I lurve me some HP!!) but this new (or is it old?) take on being a ruthless witch was intriguing. 

I liked the fact that Jax's coven is portrayed as truly evil, dark magic wielding thugs.  The fact that Jax' own father is hell bent on killing his own daughter brought a whole new subterranean view of parenting.  This dark family history (a magical mafia, if you will) clearly helps the reader see why Jax had to leave her family but I will admit that I wished that I was given a better view of life within that coven to get a better understanding of what Jax had to live with.  I realize it was bad but more of a back story would have been nice.

The main storyline line focuses on how Jax deals with fitting in to a normal life.  The girl just wants to go to high school and have the drama of a normal teen.  I get that but will admit that I had to suspend reality a wee bit if I was going to believe that a 16 year old could so easily buy a camper van, drive several states away and set up house without anyone wondering why she's on her own.  And I was ok with that.  The fact that Jax has the ability to mind control was enough of a reason to help me get over the legalities.

Jax was a good main character who may be 'model gorgeous' (oh the woes of the uber pretty) but holds her own as she deals with the lot she's been given.  She has her ruthless dad and her coven out to kill her, a raging dark force within her always trying to get out, learning that the guy she's fallen for has been brought up to kill her kind.   The girl has a lot on her plate.  It's a lot to soak in as a reader but it doesn't come off as too much.  Seeing Jax blend into Baker's Gap and the regular issues of attending high school (including dealing with a typical Mean Girl) helped me see a vulnerability in Jax that made me like her even more.

If I had a couple of wee beefs about the book its that the overall feel of the book was really rushed.  Jax moves to this town, immediately makes a new BFF in Toni (whom I really liked), finds a cute guy whom she quickly becomes infatuated with ... all within a week.   Making a new bestie and dating a cute guy didn't bother me but how fast she fell for Keller (and him for her) all within a week bordered on the unbelievable.  I think Keller and Jax were supposed to have a romance but to me it felt more like infatuation/lust due to the short period of time they had to get to know each other.  I'm hoping to see their bond/relationship grow more in the upcoming books and be less obsessive.

My second beef is the fact that the main action of the book didn't come until the end.  It was a great 'edge of your seat' action scene but I would have loved a bit more magical duelling (or at least seeing what kind of power Jax possesses) throughout the book a bit more.  Honestly it just made me want to keep on reading Bane (the second book in the series) to keep up the momentum.

Lastly, it's a small beef -- a wee 'moo' if you will -- but if you aren't a Buffy the Vampire Slayer' fan you may feel a little out of the loop like I did.  There are quite a few Buffy quotes used throughout the book which went right over my head.  Am I the only person not really familiar with this series?  I had just barely enough of a working knowledge of the series to get the basic point but kept feeling like I was falling short of getting the true meaning.

Overall this book was a really good start to a new trilogy.  It has good characters, a great premise and I'm looking forward to seeing how Jax learns to use her dark power to battle her former coven.  I recommend this series to fans of P.C and Kristin Cast's "House of Night" series.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Note: My sincere thanks to Net Galley and the publisher, Bell Bridge Books, for providing me with a complimentary Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for my honest review.

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