Set in Australia, this is the fifth in the Lizzie Grace urban fantasy series revolving around a witch and her human familiar in hiding from their families. It's been two months since Demon's Dance , 4.
There's been definite growth in Lizzie's character arc, starting with her doubt about her weak abilities, abilities which have grown so much stronger. Of course, Arthur does provide those coincidental events that test Lizzie's powers and expand her knowledge of using them as well as incorporating Belle's abilities. Huh? I wonder how that happened *grin*
Arthur uses a mix of character and action to drive the plot with first person protagonist point-of-view from Lizzie's perspective, so everything we know, see, and hear is with Lizzie present. Well, okay, I suppose Belle too, since the two can read each other's minds.
One of the series conflicts is Aiden unable to marry a non-werewolf...which definitely disqualifies Lizzie. To up Aiden's problems, we finally meet his mother. Shudder. Arthur does sprinkle in the tidbits, the foreshadowing, that might lead our protagonist couple into the ending I'd like. We'll have to see. I hate waiting.
Lizzie has her own series-long conflict: a man she was forced to marry from whom she fled. As for Belle's "conflict" with Monty — I do enjoy their interactions, lol. That boy just won't give up, and I'd be curious to know what his "high-falutin'" parents would think.
Whoaaa, we do find out why no one is allowed into the werewolf compounds. A very practical concern! One that the "adventure" Charlie and his friends have embarked on emphasizes. That mother of his! It's no wonder Charlie is such a feckless idjit.
Whew, this particular demon is just plain nasty...and much too powerful! I do love it when an author sets up the seemingly impossible and then bashes right through it, *more laughter*
I do enjoy this series. Arthur has created a cozy set of characters who settle into this initially hostile setting and has kept me coming back.
Evil is stalking the reservation, picking men's bones clean...and neatly piling them up. There’s a demon with a taste for human flesh on the reservation, bringing another problem in the form of a White Lady — a ghost who wants her bloody revenge, and demands Belle’s assistance to get it.
And she won’t take no for an answer.
But the greatest threat of all might be the witch who is a magical bloodhound. A witch who’s been sent to the reservation by one Clayton Marlowe…
And Lizzie will have to take the fight out into the open...and attack.
Lizzie Grace is a, well, had been, a weak-powered witch from a royal line of witches (she's really Elizabeth Marlowe) who happened to have prophetic dreams, to sense evil, to have a strong gift for psychometry, and who has been infused with the wild magic. Isabelle "Belle" Kent, a telepath and strong spirit talker who has acquired the ability to see and use her talents through Lizzie), is her familiar and best friend. Nell had been Belle's grandmother with a very impressive library of magic books.
The Psychic Café is...
...the business Lizzie and Belle have opened, determined to stop running. Frank is their kitchen hand. Penny is their full-time waitress. Mike is the cook.
Lizzie's mother, Eleanor, is one of the strongest blueblooded witches alive. Julius "Juli" is Lizzie's jerk of an older brother; he has four kids. Cat had been Lizzie and Juli's powerful sister. Lawrence is her jerk of a father, who pushed Lizzie onto Clayton Marlowe, a friend of her dad's and Lizzie's second cousin.
Monty Ashworth is the new reservation witch...and Lizzie's cousin. Eamon is Monty's cat as well as his familiar. Monty's not too keen on Lizzie. Ira Ashworth, the Regional Witch Association representative, is stepping in, again, to help out. Eli, Ira's significant other, is now coaching the local kids' cricket and football teams. Eli also used to be a rally driver in his younger days.
The Faelan Reservation is...
...one of seven werewolf reservations in Australia and the only one in Victoria. The O'Connors are gray wolves. Émigré is a club owned by a vampire.
The Rangers are…
…the police force on the reservation and elected by the elders. Aiden O'Connor is the head ranger, a werewolf, and Lizzie's lover. Tala Sinclair is his second-in-command. Ciara is Aiden's sister and the reservation coroner. Other rangers include Mac, Jaz, Byron, Duke, and Maggie, their dispatcher and a ranger-in-training.
The demanding Karleen Jayne O'Connor is Aiden's mother and a pack alpha; Joseph is his father. Katie had been Aiden's younger sister who died; her soul integrated with a well of wild magic, becoming its guardian. Gabe Watson had been the previous reservation witch and Katie's husband. Dillon is one of Aiden's seven still-living siblings. Mia, a nurse, had been Aiden's previous girlfriend, the lying one. Jude had been/is her husband.
Jaz and Lizzie are becoming friends. Jaz recently married Levi Marin, a barista who is opening his café next week. Rocco Marin is one of the Marin clan alphas. Terrell was in a fight. Jeni was out for a night with one of the Sinclair boys. Sean and Ryanne Marin are Jeni's parents. Jimmy had been a friend of Jeni's. Rene Marin.
"Vita" is a White Lady who makes a bargain with Lizzie and Belle. Aldred had been Vita's son.
Kash is a tech friend of Belle's. Marion Hardwick manages The Red Door, a posh restaurant and has lost her son Joe, an apprentice painter. The clueless Judy Rankin is an idiot who expects freebies, er, a mother who has lost her son, Charlie, who thinks he can do anything he likes. He and his friends really need to work on their orienteering skills. Joseph Banker went missing four days ago. Gerard. Joel drives for the auto club.
Daniela Sarr is a tracer, think of her as a magical bloodhound.
Peak's Point is...
...where the Fitzgerald brothers, witchy carnival tricksters, were left with a "gift" of rats.
The Black Lantern Society is...
...a secret organization intended to right wrongs and bring justice.
Wild magic must always be guarded, as it can draw darker forces to it. Ghosts are souls trapped in this world. Specters are like ghosts, but out for vengeance. An Empusae can take on several forms: an owl-like Strix or a young woman.
The Cover and Title
The initial impression of the cover is of black and reds, for it's the red-haired Lizzie, her long hair curling past her shoulders, standing in profile to us in her black jeans and tank top, her head turned to watch us. Her right arm is bent with pink flames balling up from her hand, the wild magic. More black and a bluish-gray mist represents a night in the reservation's forests. The author's name is in white at the top while the title (also in white) spans Lizzie's knees. The series information is in a minty green at the very bottom.
The title is all about the Empusae, the demons with those Wicked Wings.