Monday, 28 January 2013

The Water Witch by Juliet Dark

This is a really terrible book, but I sort of liked it... It is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy in the style of the Southern Vampire series. The main character Cailleach (pronounced Kay-lex, as we are constantly reminded) McFay (McFay - really?) is a half faery half witch professor in a rural American university situated in Fairwick - a town with the sole remaining door into Faerie.
The story follows her trying to resolve her romance with an incubus from the last novel, help out some undines and keep the door to Faery open. At the centre of this is an exceptionally flimsy love triangle, the outcome of which is obvious to anyone with a brain. This leads into the main problem with the book: Callie does not appear to possess a brain. There were several times when I was mentally screaming at my Kindle "oh for goodness sake you stupid woman!" She is incredibly irritating, and I laughed out loud through the portions where she discussed her inability to love anyone due to the tragedy of her parents death. It was incredibly cheesy and over-dramatic. There is also quite a bit of terribly-written sex.
I also have a personal hatred of stories where different mythologies are haphazardly blended together unless it's done very well (see Neil Gaiman's work for examples). I also dislike people who describe themselves as "spiritual" and subscribe to an assorted melange of overlapping beliefs. This books features angels, fairies, Reiki, Norse gods and Wicca amongst other things, with no convincing explanation about why all these things exist together. It's just silly.
I did wonder if this book was intended as a parody, or pastiche of the genre, but it appears not. In terms of story, setting and characters it is dire.
Having said all this, the writing style is good, I did find myself drawn into the book and keen to read to the end, and I would read another one, although I can't quite pin down why. Conclusion: terribly trashy but readable.
Score: 6/10

I have subsequently read the first book in this serious The Demon Lover which is a vast improvement on The Water Witch, much less schmaltzy although with even more dodgy sex scenes. I think that it would have improved The Water Witch if I had read this one first, so if you want to read this series read them in order.

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