The nitty-gritty: Twisted family ties, complex relationships, lies and betrayals, and oh yeah. Witches and magic!
Liquid fire coursed through my veins. I slid my hand over the pendant and looked at myself in the mirror, amazed at the self-assured face that was reflected back at me. I felt like a fish that had been tossed into water for the first time after somehow managing to survive its entire life on dry land. I had been waiting for this feeling my entire life. For once, I felt like I could truly breathe.
If I had to describe The Line in one word, it would be readable. This was a tough book to put down once I picked it up. If there are any Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans out there, this book is for you. Some of the plot points in The Line reminded me of Buffy Season Six, when Willow’s magic starts to get out of control, until, you know, she starts killing everyone. Not that there’s killing in this book! *cackles* Horn’s combination of several elements all came together perfectly for me: the setting of Savannah, Georgia; the family of witches who live there; the incorporation of hoodoo magic and root medicine; and best of all, the engaging voice of Mercy Taylor who narrates. This story is almost like a soap opera on steroids. It’s full of secrets, blood pacts, prophecies, a love triangle (yes, I know! But this one isn’t what you expect…) and sibling rivalry. But it’s also got sisterly love, a jar full of magic memories, and a bunch of kick-ass women characters. And lots of magic!
Mercy has lived in Savannah all of her life (almost twenty-one years) and is part of a family of witches whose lineage goes back to the Civil War era. Unfortunately, she is the one member of the family who has absolutely no powers. Mercy has spent her whole unhappy life being treated as the runt of the family, and watching as her twin sister Maisie is coddled and taught the family secrets by her great-aunt Ginny, while Mercy is shut out. Maisie’s power is strong enough to secure her spot in line as the next “anchor,” a powerful witch who helps maintain “the line” that separates the demon realm from our own.
But when Ginny, the family’s current anchor, is found brutally murdered, the family erupts in accusations and lies, and without an anchor in place to stop the demons from coming over, Mercy finds herself right in the middle of chaos. Will Maisie be chosen as the next anchor and take over in time to stop the trouble brewing, or will the many secrets the family has been hiding be the destruction of the line itself?
OK, I’m going to get this out of the way first. Yes, there is a love triangle (or technically, a quadrangle), but Horn has given this dreaded trope a spin that even I didn’t see coming. So don’t let that stop you from jumping head first into this story! Here’s the deal: Mercy is in love—with Maisie’s boyfriend, Jackson. She’s suffering so much from the guilt of this that one night she goes to the crossroads (you know, where all the worst evil spells are cast) to find Mother Jilo, a root doctor who does hoodoo magic. She wants Jilo to cast a spell so that she will fall in love with Peter, her best friend, which will hopefully erase her feelings for Jackson. Without going into detail, let’s just say that when magic is involved, things tend to go…wrong. And boy, does Horn know how to make things go wrong in so many delightful ways!
One of the best things about the characters in The Line is that you can’t really count on any of them to be trustworthy. A character that you love in the beginning of the story might turn evil, and likewise a hateful one may turn out to be one of your favorites by the end of the story. It’s that type of uncertainty that kept me turning the pages as fast as possible. And yes, there are certain characters that are truly good through and through, like Mercy’s uncle Oliver, who reads minds and always has kind things to say to Mercy.
Mother Jilo turned out to be one of my favorite characters, which I was not expecting. Even though she comes across as mean and dangerous, I loved the way Mercy got under her skin, and by the end of the book she’s become one of the few people in her life that Mercy can trust.
The magic in The Line was a lot of fun, especially cool ideas like the jar of magical memories that Maisie gives to Mercy, and Oliver’s imaginary friend Wren, who haunts the house and hasn’t aged a day since Oliver was a boy. There are doorways that magically transport you to other locations, a golem, and blood magic as well. And underneath it all, the complex relationships among members of the Taylor family play out amidst all the magic.
The city of Savannah is the perfect setting for this Southern gothic tale, and I loved the author’s descriptions of the old creepy cemeteries, the bad parts of town where Jilo practices her hoodoo magic, and even the heat-laden air of summer that made me feel as if I were right there. As the story progresses, and horrible family secrets begin to emerge, you’ll feel like you’re right there too, right in the middle of the Taylor family drama. Luckily for us readers, there are two more books in this series to look forward to. And I for one will be dropping everything as soon as book two comes out!
Big thanks to the author for supplying a review copy. I’ll be interviewing J.D. later this week, so don’t forget to check back!
The Line is a Kindle First pick this month, and you can get it for your Kindle for only $1.99! Click the Amazon button for more info: