‘Bewitched’ is an eclair of a book: light, sweet, sinfully self-indulgent and too soon gone. It carries straight on from ‘Betwixt’ both in terms of the story and the raucous, just-this-side-of-smutty, humour-glossing-trauma-and-fear pantomime style of storytelling.
The book starts with Defiance waking from a sort of magical coma six months after the dramatic events at the end of ‘Betwixt’. In ‘Betwixt’, Defiance’s problem was that she had no idea that she had magical powers. In ‘Bewitched’ her problem is that she knows she has them and they scare her. They put a target on her back and they make her even less predictable than usual. Much of the book is spent with Defiance trying to claim that she’s lost her powers only to have circumstances make it essential that she uses them.
It’s easy to write off a book like this as light-weight nonsense but, like the choux pastry of the eclair, making something this light in tone while still carrying a story that develops characters and delivers moments of real drama, takes a lot of skill.
Behind the banter and double entendre and the sustained but playful sexual tension, this is a story that has some gruesome things in it and which, eventually, requires Defiance to live up to her name and give some of the bad guys the violent retribution that they so richly deserve. The magical system moves on a little.Defiance’s lust for her leather kilt-wearing wolfman continues to amplify, going from a naughty fantasy to something a little more substantial. I think what I liked most was the way a real (but very unusual) ‘family’ is growing up around Defiance.
Of course, I also enjoyed the humour. I love the memes that start every chapter. My favourite was: ‘I think I seized the wrong day’. And I liked the action scenes where Defiance learns how to use her magic to protect herself.
As with the first book, the ending isn’t a cliff-hanger but did leave me with the sense of needing the final book in the trilogy to hand so that the next time I fancy a day spent comfort reading an eclair book, it will already be on my e-reader.