Monday, 13 January 2014

It Takes A Witch

It Takes a Witch (A Wishcraft Mystery, #1)

Author: Heather Blake
Genre: Supernatural/Light Mystery
Series: #1 in the Wishcrafters series
Type: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 309
Publisher: New American Library Obsidian
First Published: January 2012
First Line: "Usually I'm not in the habit of tiptoeing through strange houses under the cover of darkness."

Book Description from GoodReadsDarcy Merriweather and her sister, Harper, hail from a long line of witches who have the power to grant wishes using spells. They've come to Enchanted Village in Salem, Massachusetts, to join the family business, but they soon find themselves knee deep in murder...

Until three weeks ago, Darcy and Harper were working dead-end jobs and trying to put their troubles behind them. Then their aunt Velma delivered a bombshell: They're actually Wishcrafters - witches with the power to grant wishes with a mere spell. Wanting a fresh start, they head to their aunt's magic-themed tourist town to master their newfound skills.

But their magic fails them when a wannabe witch turns up dead - strangled with Aunt Ve's scarf - and Ve's sweetheart, Sylar, is found looming over the body. Ve is standing by her man, but Darcy overheard Skylar wish that the victim would disappear - forever. With Harper distracted by her handsome new crush, Darcy is determined to sleuth her way to the truth. But it'll take more than a wish to unravel this mystery....

My Review:  This was another library pick that, I believe, my 10 year old daughter, 'Missy Moo', picked out for me based merely on the fact that there was a cat and puppy on the front cover.  She doesn't have very discerning tastes when it comes to plot and character development but does have an affinity for cute, cuddly beasts.

That said, I did enjoy this first book in a new mystery series.  The author of this series, Heather Blake also writes under the name Heather Webber and is the author of the Nina Quinn and Lucy Valentine series.  I have read and enjoyed a couple of the books in the Lucy Valentine series so if you're looking for a quirky, light mystery series you might want to check that series out as well.  Here are my reviews for those books:

Truly, Madly (2010)
Deeply, Desperately (2010)

Back to the review at hand, overall this was a good, solid start to a new mystery series.  It had enough twists to keep me guessing and it had an interesting premise surrounding the supernatural element.  I'm not sure I wholeheartedly loved how the supernatural was explained but it was unique.  I think my issue with the supernatural was that it came off a little vague and much more in the background of the story than I was expecting.  I think that some of my issue with the supernatural powers were that a few of them were quite obscure powers.  Like people being Law Crafters -- supernatural people who are really good at law.  Who would want that power?  

As with any new series, and quite typical for mysteries, there were a lot of characters to introduce.  Keeping track of who was who became a little hard but the author would throw subtle hints to remind the reader. 

Darcy was a solid main character.  She has her flaws and struggles to learn about her newfound powers but because her craft is so new to her Darcy doesn't necessarily use her powers to solve the mystery.  I'm hoping that the magical element will become more prevalent in future books but for now I'm OK with not fully understanding everything about the supernatural element.  That said, I did find it frustrating (as Darcy did) that no one seems to want to help her learn her craft.  She finds out she's a Crafter and is then left to struggle on her own with no help from her Aunt or the mysterious Elder.  I just found that odd.

The secondary characters were varied and interesting (if a little hard to keep track of at times).  Unfortunately, Darcy's sister Harper was left out of the majority of the storyline and seems very immature for her age.  I'm hoping that we'll see more development in Harper's character in future books.

Another aspect which is common in light mysteries is a romance with the faint whiff of 'fromage'.  Yes, the cheesy romance or even perhaps the overdone 'love triangle'.  There was an inkling about romance in this book but I was pleased that effort was made to stay on the tasks of setting up the series, giving the reader a glimpse into characters and building a good mystery instead of the overdone 'will they/won't they?' issue. 

There is also some mystery left at the end of the books, like name of the Elder (head of the Crafters).  There isn't a cliff hanger at the end of the book, per se, but there is also an interesting character who is revealed at the end.  I had suspected who this character was ... only to be wrong.  I love that!

This is a nice, light mystery that you can curl up with and finish quite quickly.  I look forward to reading more in this series

My Rating: 3/5 stars

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