Reviewed by Chris
SERIES: Port Lewis Witches
AUTHOR: Brooklyn Ray
PUBLISHER: NineStar Press
LENGTH: 126 pages
RELEASE DATE: January 8, 2018
Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.
Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.
Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.
Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.
I have been staring at this screen for like a half-hour, trying to find a good way to write this review. Or at the very least, a way to start the damn thing. But what I’ve come to realize is that the reason I’m having a hard time reviewing the book is the same reason that I found myself underwhelmed by nearly everything about the story. Mainly that there doesn’t seem to be much story here.
Or, maybe, more correctly, there doesn’t seem to be much point to the story here.
The whole thing revolves around two witches: Liam, who controls the more watery elements, and Ryder, who controls fire. Except Ryder has a bit of a family legacy that he’s tried his hardest to cover up: everyone in his father’s family are necromancers–including himself. To white witches like Liam and the rest of his and Ryder’s circle, that is something to be at best shunned. Darkling is what happens when Ryder is no longer able to keep that secret hidden.
And while I can certainly see a story in that well worth telling–and reading–by the end of the thing I couldn’t help but feel let down. There are no real stakes in this book. Everything–despite the menacing tone the first chapter takes–is so easily solved that I never once felt invested in the story or with the characters. Even the events at the climax of the thing–ones that should have had some stakes–never once made me worried for Ryder. The ceremony he undergoes has, as far as the book presented, never gone wrong. And, yes, I can admit that it isn’t something I would ever undertake lightly–or at all–but it left me as an outsider absolutely unaffected.
So despite the fact that it wasn’t badly written, and that the characters were at the very least interesting–and I found I would have loved to know more about the magic here–there wasn’t a whole lot there to recommend it either. Which makes me a bit sad because I had some high hopes going in.