Author: Michelle Krys
Publisher: Delacorte Press
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?
Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.
Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.
This book was first on my radar when I was reading a bunch of reviews with 2014 debut authors and liked the one with Michelle Krys, the author of the debut Hexed. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but the summary sounded fun enough and the author seemed humorous, so I figured it was worth a shot, especially since I feel like I read a lot less paranormal books lately. When I saw some less-than-enthusiastic reviews, I got a little worried, but I gave it a shot anyway. I didn’t dislike it as much as some reviewers, but I definitely found it problematic in areas.
The very beginning left me a little unsure about whether I wanted to keep going or not. There was definitely humor, which was great, but some of the humor was more of the girl- and slut-shaming variety, which definitely rubbed me the wrong. Main character, Indigo “Indie,” definitely wasn’t the nicest person, especially when it came to her next door neighbour, Paige, who was not popular like Indie. The magical aspect and Indie’s family was interesting, though, so I kept going despite my reservations.
Based on the summary, I was surprised with how long it took for Indie to officially be declared a witch. It wasn’t until at least a third into the book when it seemed like a very real possibility, and then the magic lessons came in the last half or so. There was a lot more to this story than being a witch and getting back the all-important family bible. There was emotion and a huge death that caused lots of sad emotion. The death definitely affected me, but I’m the type of person who tends to cry easily at books – other people might feel like it’s too easy and simply a way to gain sympathy for the main character without doing more work in the character-building department.
Like I said, I wasn’t a big fan of Indie. She definitely got better over time, but she definitely started the book out as a mean girl. She was judgmental of people who were lesser in social status as well as her fellow popular people (mainly, her best friend who is obviously a horrible person who is such an awful friend – although it did seem like her character might get a little expansion at the end of the book, which would make me quite happy). Her judgmental attitude was definitely aimed more at female characters like the said best friend and her cheer coach who apparently only showed up for games because she wanted to catch the attention of the players (aka the underage high school boys). Of course, there’s a mean, pretty girl who is romantic competition, but she also seems like she could be expanded upon in future books. The love interest has his moments, but whenever I felt like I might ship them, I felt a little bad because Bishop wasn’t the greatest person – he was crude and has a player persona, even if it was all an act. I was much more interested in characters like the next door neighbour, Paige, who would have been a much nicer protagonist but whatever, as well as Indie’s mother and aunt. There was a combination of interesting characters and flat, frustrating ones.
The world building wasn’t great in this book. You see, Indie is a witch, along with her love interest. The antagonists are sorcerers, who are apparently different because their magic comes easily and doesn’t need practice or something? There’s a group of witches and warlocks who control everything that are called The Family. Some of the characters in this book are associated with The Family, but we don’t meet anyone who is actually in the group. And… that’s basically all I know about The Family. Oh, and they’re really secretive – which seems like an easy way to keep from explaining more about them. At some point, Indie starts talking about The Family like she knows them, but unless she learned about them in a deleted scene, it seemed like she knew more than she should have. I wanted to know more about them and about politics in the witch and warlock world, but there just wasn’t much. The world building definitely leaves something to be desired.
The Adult Situation
I’ve already mentioned that I found Indie’s mother and aunt interesting. Indie’s father isn’t in the picture at all (I’m guessing he’s magical and is going to show up at some point in the future – and no, that’s not a spoiler, that’s pure speculation), so she relies on her mother completely, with her aunt flitting in and out of the picture. I actually did like her relationship with her mother – even though she looked down on her mom’s obsession with Wicca and the occult, she really did seem like a daughter who loves her mother, embarrassing moments and all.
The romance doesn’t seem to be anything too special. There’s the reasonably snarky girl, the snarkier and cruder boy, and some obstacles thrown in their way like an ex-girlfriend that Indie hates because she’s gorgeous and not the nicest person in the world. There were points when I was kind of rooting for them, but there were also times when I was wondering why Bishop, the love interest, had to be such a jerk all the time. Yes, I understand that he’s had some problems in the past and that he deserves some sympathy, but he could be quite rude. If I want to support them in the future, then I need to see him grovelling a little.
The ending seemed a little rushed. I remember looking down at the page count and wondering how things would wrap up in the next twenty or so pages. Things did get wrapped up and there was even time to throw in a cliffhanger to keep you reading, but things seemed a little rushed nonetheless. Plus, the epilogue that set up the cliffhanger was a random change in point of view to another character that took me a moment or two to figure out.
There was a combination of intriguing ideas and characters along with problematic characters and some weak world building in this debut. I can definitely see why some people gave it less-than-enthusiastic reviews, but I also found myself entertained enough to keep reading. I think I’ll check out the sequel, but there’s no guarantee.