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Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson

The Witches of Echo Park is a very character-driven novel, with a little romance thrown in.  The reader really gets to know the main character, Lyse, and her new "extended family" in this series opener.

The character development in The Witches of Echo Park is great, almost at the cost of plot development.  This is the first book in a rumored series, so the author spends time letting us get to know all the various characters.  The main character, Lyse, is, of course, the most well-developed.  A majority of the chapters are from her point of view.  While all of Lyse's chapters are set in the present day and serve to advance the plot, she will often reminisce or reflect back on her teenage years in order to fill in a little backstory.  By the end of the book, I felt like I knew Lyse the best out of the entire coven of characters.  While Lyse holds the majority, the other coven members also get their own chapters sprinkled throughout the book.  I know not everyone is a fan of books with multiple points of view, but when it's done well (like in The Witches of Echo Park) I'm definitely a fan.  I just feel like I get so much more information this way!  Amber Benson uses character names as the chapter headings, so we're never left guessing as to who is narrating any particular section.  I'm assuming there's going to be a lot more action in the series to come, and I'll be very glad to have had this first book in which to get to know the characters, their powers, their backstories, and their personalities.

Speaking of more action.... I hate to say it, but I wish there had been a little more action in The Witches of Echo Park.  I just finished the book, and I feel like there are a lot of loose ends.  And now I have to wait until the second book is released to satiate my curiosity!  The main character, Lyse, was raised by her distant older relative Eleanora following an accident in her teen years in which both of her parents perished.  She loves Eleanora like a grandmother, and rushes home to Echo Park as soon as she hears that Eleanora has terminal cancer.  Once she arrives, though, Eleanora wastes no time in hitting Lyse with the news that she's a witch and that she wants Lyse to take her place in the coven.  Lyse is just as skeptical as I would be if my grandma suddenly announced that she was a witch!  Here's where the action starts... and doesn't quite finish.  We get to see Lyse taking the first steps toward understanding Eleanora's up-till-now "secret" life in the coven, and we get to meet and know the other members of the coven.  But there are some things eluded to that are never explained further or resolved, like a deep family secret and some ominous, vague "Flood" that is coming.  I'm going to assume that we'll get resolution in the books to come.

A bonus factor: steamy sexytimes!  A bonus if you're into that, that is.  No spoilers, I promise, but there's a scene about the middle of the book that made me blush a little.

A confession: I think this was my first Adult book featuring witches!  (I read a lot of YA.)  I enjoyed my brief visit to Echo Park, but it was so far from my usual reads that it was hard to rate.  I might just have to check out Book #2 to complete my opinion!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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