Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Witch Blood by Anya Bast

Isabelle Novak is a water witch whose sister was slain by a demon raised by a group of warlocks (oath breakers of the Witch laws) named the Duskoff Cabal. Denied justice by the Coven, the group that leads the witches, she has taken matters into her own hand, and disguised herself with hair dye and contacts, then gone out to seduce Stefan Faucheux, the new leader of the Duskoff coven, who she blames for raising the demon in the first place.

She almost has him when the car she and Stephan are in is overwhelmed by members of the coven, who take Stefan captive and put him in the witch prison, Cribben, where no magic can be called on at all. For people with magical powers, this has the eventual effect of driving them insane. Thomas Monahan, leader of the Coven, agrees to let Isabelle in on the hunt for the demon with the coven, seeing as she is an extremely powerful water witch... not to mention extremely beautiful.

Isabelle certainly feels the same about Thomas, a handsome earth witch. Earth and water are inevitably attracted to each other, but can it explain their searing attraction to each other? Their feelings must take a back seat to the facts that the demon the Duskoff cabal raised ten years ago is somehow still around (most demons return to their homes soon after being called) and is killing witches for some malign plan.

Worst is what one of the other witches discovers after digging in the libraries of the witches and warlocks: that witches are the offspring of demons and humans, and that their powers are linked to the demons, being apparently a weaker version of those the demons have. As Isabelle and Thomas start an intense physical relationship, they must also fight the demon, who is stalking them as much as its prey, and find out what he is doing with the stolen power of the witches he has been killing. But when his spell goes awry and they are sucked into the demon world, will they be able to survive and return home intact?

This book is a follow-up to Anya Bast's earlier novel, "Witch Fire", about an air witch who was unaware of her powers being introduced to the coven. The heroine of that book, Mira, makes two small appearances in this novel, which is less a sequel and more a book set in the same universe and with many of the same characters. Despite the many male characters who could serve as sequel bait, her next novel isn't even going to be set amongst the characters of the coven, or involve witches, but vampires. And space-traveling vampires at that!

Anyhow, on to why I liked Witch Blood. It was a story that drew me in, especially when the witches, to their shock, learned that they are part demon. Or Daeamon as the story calls it. It includes a foray into the world of the daeamon themselves, and the revelation that there are witches there as well, and they are more powerful than earth witches, because there is more magic in the demon world (or I thought of it that way).

Much of the story hinged on Isabelle's past, and the character of her mother, who basically sleeps with rich and powerful men, gets bored with them, and moves on. Her two daughters were a burden to her, so she let them be raised by others, and that act alone gives Isabelle more than a bit of trauma. Isabelle and her mother try to learn to get along, but even though they do work together for a bit in the novel, I didn't feel enough to care for her mother, or to care whether or not they ever came to be close with each other.

The sex between Isabelle and Thomas is well written and hot, but the story of tracking the demon drew me more than the romance angle. There is also a bit of plot missing where they reveal how Thomas got back from the Demon world. I assume that will come up in any future sequel.

So, this book had hot, well-written sex, and a well-written plot. The romance was okay, but nothing special. Still better than a lot of other romances. Pick up if Paranormal is your thing.

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