Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: His Dark Magic - Pat Esden

His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven, #1)
by Pat Esden
Published: December 11th 2018 by Lyrical Press
Genre: NA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle's real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .

Now Merlin's demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin's uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can't defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.

4 Stars

Chloe Winslow wants a fresh start in Vermont, an opportunity to be the version of herself she knows she can be, all while studying medicine in hopes of righting the wrongs of her past. As a witch who is unaware of her true strength, Chloe is invited to the mysterious Northern Circle Coven, with their high priestess offering her the chance to harness her powers. Chloe finds herself crushing on fellow coven member, Devlin, with her lust for him and her desire to learn glossing over her common sense. When the coven attempts to awaken Merlin himself they find that not every member's motive is for good and Chloe must trust blindly and put her faith behind her untrained power to discern good from evil.

The foggy Vermont shores are meant to be an escape for Chloe, a place for her to learn how she can combine her power and medicine, but it soon becomes a fight to not drown in the dark magic that calls to her as the coven unearths the shade of Merlin. A classic new adult character, Chloe easily allows her emotions to get the better of her, allowing the story to be a mix of romance and gothic witch drama. She discovers that trust, while easy to give at first, can be tested too many times, and that power can be intoxicating even when thought to be used for good. I enjoyed Chloe's naivety and felt it really allowed the story to progress with significant character development. I was intrigued by her past and her future hopes, especially as she joined the coven and fell for the promise of power. Her romance with Devlin, though brief in their interactions, happens very quickly, which really highlighted Chloe's youthfulness. However, she builds a strong friendship with another local witch and I loved them as friends, their dialogue was so fresh and entertaining.

His Dark Magic was the perfect story to introduce a new series, especially with the format of the Northern Circle Coven series where each is told from the perspective of different characters. While the setting, general character personalities, and the overarching plot line of light versus dark magic is obvious, there was little detail given on the rest. I wanted to understand the characters and their ties to the coven more, in fact I wanted to understand the coven more in general. We aren't given enough information and while the characters are fiercely protective of it we don't understand why. On top of that, we aren't given motives behind why some of the characters have chosen to go dark. It's a very large part of this first novel and I think it could have been explained further. I am, however, looking forward to exploring the dark versus light side of the characters in the future novels, especially now that lines have been drawn and characters have chosen sides.

His Dark Magic is a stunning fantasy and paranormal release from Pat Esden that introduces a new series that I am very much looking forward to reading. It reminded me of the books I used to read about witches in the early '00's that I enjoyed so much. I enjoyed the characters, the overarching theme of good and evil, the friendships, and I loved the contemporary setting that the coven managed to somehow still fit into. I recommend His Dark Magic to fans of new adult paranormal/fantasy reads.

ARC provided.

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