Author: Mark Jay Harris
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Format: Paperback/ eBook, 332 pages
Source: received a copy from publisher
“Bewitched is spell-binding! A highly-unique page-turner that hooks you from the first paragraph. With complex characters and unexpected twists and turns, Harris delivers and leaves you hoping for more!” – Stephanie Keyes, author, The Star Child series
With a book cover showcasing a boy playing with fire, I sort of assumed the protagonist would be somebody who had already mastered the art of fire magic …
I was wrong.
Darren leads a relatively normal life. He is a basketball team player. He has a few good friends. He likes to have fun and he has a pretty girlfriend. Life on the outside seems good but he knows his parents are still mourning the death of his big brother. When he discovers the secret compartment in his big brother’s room and retrieves its content, he knows his dying grandfather has been telling him tales that are not fabricated but real. Being a part of an ancient order, the “Pessum Ire”, whose duty is to destroy witches, Darren feels helpless – his grandfather is not in the right state of health to be his mentor and he has no idea how to prepare himself to face the evil witches. Will he suffer the same tragic death just like his big brother?
I must say I was a little disappointed at first when I learned that Darren did not know what he could possibly do to tap into his supernatural power. It’s like he’s so clueless about himself. How can he be so powerless?? I was baffled, but as I read and got to know him a bit better, I started to see him more as a determined survivor and less as a frustrated teenager. No doubt, it’s unfortunate that he had no one to “show him the way” but it didn’t necessarily mean he had a lesser chance to stay alive.
In the story, Darren suffers not just from his ill-fated duty, but also from betrayals of those who are around him. I’m pretty marveled by the number of evil witches that are in disguise and because Darren is not trained to discern witches from normal people, he is defenseless. But I like that Darren never uses his lack of training as an excuse to enslave himself as a helpless victim. His determination to get out of his mess opens him to uncover a world of allies, magic and power and I like that the outcome and reward are both pleasing and satisfactory.
I guess what intrigues me the most is that I could never be certain about whether a person is a true friend or foe until the very last page of the book. The hint of what’s truly evil lies not just in those who are power hungry but also in the deceptive, self-fulfilled nature of foresight and prophecy. There are so many intricate layers to the plot that I can’t help but be amazed.
And while my assumption about Darren being this skilled teenager with fire magic was not entirely accurate, the image on the book cover does capture the essence of the climactic moment of the story. Although I feel somewhat relieved that most of the evil people are now identified, I know something devilishly sinister is looming and I look forward to reading the next installment when it’s available.
About the Author
Paperbacks are open for the US, UK and Canada and ebooks are open worldwide.