Friday, February 8, 2013

The Fairwick Chronicles by Author Juliet Dark

The Demon Lover
Author Juliet Dark
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name. But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.
Review: The Demon Lover is the equivalent of Harry Potter for adults. For those who grew up with a magical school, now there is a college with equal happenings plus the more adult passions that were missing from the younger audience pages. Fairwick is a supernatural campus that combines Gothic literature lore with contemporary romance making this paranormal fantasy believable and possible. There is just enough realism to ground it in the 'now,' but doesn't lack any of the otherworldly that provides a mythical escape and realm of possibilities. Let the imagination wander and flow with the mystic. The cast of Fairwick is made up of developed characters that bond the reader to the book and will encourage a commitment and desire to read the next novel in the chronicles, The Water Witch. There is a bit of over-kill on the use of "honeysuckle" both symbolically and it's assault on the senses, but in the end this didn't really bother me. Given that there is an incubus in the story line, you can expect racy scenes and seductive escapades. However, there is more to the plot, which separates this book from others in the strictly erotica category.
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*ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine courtesy of NetGalley

The Water Witch
Author Juliet Dark
This title will be released on February 12, 2013.
Pre-order Amazon

After casting out a dark spirit, Callie McFay, a professor of gothic literature, has at last restored a semblance of calm to her rambling Victorian house. But in the nearby thicket of the Honeysuckle Forest, and in the currents of the rushing Undine River, more trouble is stirring. . . .The enchanted town of Fairwick’s dazzling mix of mythical creatures has come under siege from the Grove: a sinister group of witches determined to banish the fey back to their ancestral land. With factions turning on one another, all are cruelly forced to take sides. Callie’s grandmother, a prominent Grove member, demands her granddaughter’s compliance, but half-witch/half-fey Callie can hardly betray her friends and colleagues at the college. To stave off disaster, Callie enlists Duncan Laird, an alluring seductive academic who cultivates her vast magical potential, but to what end? Deeply conflicted, Callie struggles to save her beloved Fairwick, dangerously pushing her extraordinary powers to the limit—risking all, even the needs of her own passionate heart.
Review: If you liked the first book in the series, The Demon Lover, you'll undoubtedly enjoy the second installation because it provides a seamless transition with well-woven re-capping details. The voice, flow and characters stay true to themselves. However, they don't necessarily grow that much, but Callie does figure out a few things before all is finished. I wish I could share a quote from the book as an example to theme, but since this is an advanced reader copy, I'm not allowed. As I got deeper and more involved in the chronicles, I began to notice complex thematic developments occurring. The English Lit. nerd in me gets excited when I can connect a modern hot topic or current event with something linked to a piece of literature I'm reading. Specifically, the idea of a group taking advantage of a crisis to push through an agenda. Persecution, rights, villainization and politics all play a role in the Fairwick Chronicles and can be discussed and compared to recent headlines.  For example, we can all generally agree that no one pro violence, but at what length are we as a society willing to go to prevent it from happening? What limitation, persecution, villainization and boundaries are we willing to cross, close or commit? Most importantly, are certain groups, clubs, parties, institutions taking advantage to sway popular opinion? Also, similarly in the first book, sexuality is a prominent topic and although it can be graphic in nature, it does serve a purpose and connection adding to the thematic depth of the piece. As a reader, you can approach the inclusion either as entertainment, romance or as a literary commentary about sexuality, gender, love and social behavior.  There is a definite conflict between the old and new values, and this can be analyzed and applied in various aspects throughout the novel. Given the sub-themes, The Water Witch poses some interesting perspectives that lean toward the literary and would make for a lively progressive book club or group discussion.  Eagerly awaiting the third book because that last line was a whopper! My fingernails might pop off if I'm left hanging for too long.
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*ARC provided by Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine courtesy of NetGalley

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