26 December 2011

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

This book was very good, worth reading for the great characterization and a creative fantasy retelling of a familiar plot. Braden is wonderful. I love that the book starts with an out teenager, because so many stories of LGBT teenagers are stories of discovery. Not that discovery is bad, but I know there are gay teenagers that have known they were gay since before puberty, and it’s good to have diverse characters to let people know about the many facets of gay life. However, Braden is much more than just his sexuality. He’s a powerful witch, a trusting (or gullible) young man, a teenager in love, a little rash and impulsive but creative in his on-the-spot problem solving which serves to help him out of most problems. His powers are multi-faceted as well, having a great advantage but also causing Braden debilitating pain and even loss of consciousness when he uses them too much. It’s always good to have checks and balances on the uber-powerful character, and I just really don’t see “morality” as enough of one. Not that Braden isn’t normal, but the disadvantage adds another facet that rounds out the story well.

And it is a great story. Tracey plays well on and around the traditional theme of Romeo and Juliet, weaving in a homosexual love story that also has action and adventure. The beginning did slow a little bit, but after the first chapter-ish things really get going and you quickly forget the start issues. I recommend this book to fantasy fans that are looking for some good action and an intriguing tale with a fresh take on magic.

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