Book form: Kndle format e-book
Genre :LGBT, fantasy, adventure.
Target audience: YA
Braden Michaels, a seventeen-year-old witch boy with a special gift, has lived so far a secluded life with his uncle, John. His gift is called ‘witch eyes’ and it gives him an enormous power but only at a cost of torturous headaches. Although Braden’s uncle does anything to keep his nephew happy and educated it seems that for the boy all roads lead to Belle Dam, a mysterious place he knows nothing about.
One day Braden gets an unusual vision and he knows he must go to Belle Dam no matter what or something terrible will happen. He leaves his uncle behind and lands right in the middle of a sleepy little town where nothing is as it seems to be. He is greeted by a successful lawyer, Lucien Fallon, and taken to a good hotel. Who’s arranged that and paid for it? As the story unravels Braden finds out more about his family, his gift and destiny; he also falls for another boy – in fact the last person he should fall for. And somebody tries to kill him. Will he return to a quiet life elsewhere or will he stand up and fight like an adult witch with a history of family feud? Will he be given a choice at all?
What I liked:
Braden was a nice character with a sense of humour and his journey – a good, action-packed adventure. The narration flowed easily so the book was a pleasure to read. What’s more the descriptions of Belle Dam were so intriguing and lively that I actually felt like visiting the place myself. I liked the fact that every detail had its place and its meaning.
The gay content was presented in a very mild way – the feelings were described quite honestly, erotic scenes toned down to nothing more than a few kisses and embraces (but of course every parent must keep in mind the fact that this YA book clearly present gay relationship as something not only natural but also interesting and exciting). Overall the premise (a young gay male witch) I found refreshing – let’s face it, most such books are written by women, about women and for women (girls, females, whatever). There were no love triangles here (what a relief!) and no major cliffhangers at the end although from my point of view it is clear the author plans a continuation – some problems were still left unexplained.
What I didn’t like:
It seems that in plenty of contemporary YA books a teenager must be left alone in dire straits just in order to gauge his or her own potential and mature. It’s actually strange that adults seem to be presented as only a hindrance, not help. This book didn’t break that scheme and I found it a bit silly. After all, it would be only natural for Braden to look to his witch parent for advice and support. Instead, he constantly challenges his father’s knowledge, good faith and pretty much everything else. I know, he is just a little rebel trying to find his own place but it kind of started to grate after some time.
Now something about the romantic thread…you know me, usually I am hard to please when it comes to that. The fact that Braden and Trey (his love interest) fell for each other instantly and both happened to be teenage gays from affluent witch families at variance defied a bit the laws of probability. It also made me think instantly how the ‘Romeo and Julian’ scenario has never really been my cup of tea. Perhaps it was nicely written but also rather cliche and very predictable.
A nice, light read but a bit lukewarm. Of course I can imagine many teen boys and more than a few girls enjoying the world and characters and I do have to give Witch Eyes points for daring to be different, but it just doesn’t change the fact that, in my very humble opinion, we don’t deal here with an YA ground breaking masterpiece. I am not sure whether I will read any other installments of that series.