Young Adult Paranormal Might Not be Passe

Imagine my surprise when I won a physical, hardbound copy of a book just for sharing a Tweet. That book, Hexed, will now be subjected to my non-paranormal reviewing powers.

Before I begin, I’d like to give a shout out to Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary for promptly mailing out the book. She’s doing a great job representing Ms. Krys, getting her first book into the hands of readers as the second book is being released.

I admit this log line from the book’s cover and Amazon description had me salivating to read on: “ a snarky sixteen-year-old cheerleader is forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers only to uncover the first of many dark truths about her life…”

You’re ready for more now, too, right? Even if you aren’t a fan of paranormal stories starring witches and sorcerers (Harry Potter books excluded, of course).

Summary

Indigo Blackwood seems to be the typical snobby cheerleader at the beginning of the series (think Mean Girls). Her best friend is the head cheerleader and treats Indigo poorly because she’s jealous of her 8-month relationship with the quarterback of the football team.

Sounds cliché, right? I mean cheerleader dating quarterback with a mean girl head cheerleader antagonizing things. That’s been done a million times.

Not like Krys does it. Indigo’s mom is a member of a Wiccan society and owns a witchcraft shop. Indigo things she might be crazy because her mom has been known to bury books in the back yard – digging with her own two hands.

Actually, she’s paranoid about only one book, The Witch Hunter’s Bible. Not that Indigo believes there are such things as witches.

All that changes as a series of events throws Indigo into danger. A handsome stranger stalks her, until she realizes he’s trying to help. Aside from the theft of the book and further terrorizing at the hands of the sorcerer group, The Priory, Indigo faces the teenage torture of walking in on her boyfriend and best friend.

Finally, Indigo accepts that she might be a witch and struggles to learn her powers. After all, she’s tired of being everyone’s victim.

My Review

Indigo Blackwood won my heart. Her thoughts, actions and commentary remains true to the character of a junior in high school. This first person narration does the genre and mode proud. This alone earned the story a strong 4.6 out of five stars.

I appreciated that Indigo never really mastered her emotions. What teenage girl can? Maybe for ten minutes. This also helped the story ring true. And allowed for more conflict and tension because readers realized she would run straight into the arms of trouble unprepared.

The minor characters of Paige and Bishop were well-drawn, as well. Of course, we only get to see them from Indigo’s perspective, and she isn’t an unbiased observer.

Paige is the unpopular next door neighbor who comes through as a true friend (more cliché). Bishop is an orphan warlock (male counterpart of witch in this series whereas Potter had wizards) with plenty of secrets of his own.

It was difficult to put this book down. I ended up reading it on three consecutive evenings. By the last 100 pages, there was no chance I would stop reading until I finished.

I don’t spoil stories with my reviews. Suffice it to say there are several wrenching twists that are unexpected. However, they aren’t unbelievable or unsupported.

There are more bad guys in this story than good. We get the impression we’re supposed to side with the witches, but their ruling body, The Family, doesn’t win my adoration. If you prefer an obvious black and white in your good and evil battles, this book won’t give you that.

As in life, plans never go as planned. Indigo loses more than she gains. The ending is happy – sort of.

My least favorite thing about the book was the fact that the resolution included the set-up for the next book in the series. It was done well, not coming off as a cliffhanger. If you don’t want to bite, just don’t read the Epilogue.

While this book has several hundred reviews on Goodreads, it earns less than four stars overall there. There are only eight reviews on Amazon with a 4.2 out of five-star rating overall.

My Recommendation

Charmed coverTeenager girls and women readers of YA fiction will enjoy this book. Not a fan of paranormal? This book doesn’t try to explain the magic or give a history of it, which made it easier for me to accept.

There is murder, blood, gore, and disturbing images. It doesn’t have the gut-wrenching suspense of a thriller, however, and was too believable to read like horror. Since it didn’t give me nightmares, I’d say it is PG-13 rather than something heavier.

Because I like Indigo, I will be reading the sequel, Charmed. Currently, the Kindle edition is going for $1.99, and I’m all about that good deal.

Have you read Hexed? What did you think? Is paranormal still as “in” as it has been the past several years?

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