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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Regan Hastings: AWAKENING

Author: Regan Hastings (aka Maureen Child)
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V3; S4; H0
Publisher and Titles: Signet Eclipse
        Visions of Magic (2011)
        Visions of Skyfire (10/2011)
     Romance writer Maureen Child missteps into the paranormal world in this new series, which is a stew of paranormal fiction clichés. In addition to a hunky hero and a spunky heroine, we have the MPs (magic police) who hunt down and imprison witches; a crazy doctor who experiments on witches; a civilian group (the Seekers) who hates all witches; and an evil witch who turns against her sister witches to gain power. 
     The double-crossing witch is Kellyn, and here she is gloating about her plans: 
     "Soon," she whispered, glancing up at the night sky as the moon darted behind a swath of clouds as if hiding from her. "Soon it will all be mine and no one will be able to stand against me." (p. 189, Visions of Magic) (Can't you hear her ending this scene with a melodramatically evil laugh: "Bwahahahaha"?)
     The villains are totally evil, and the good guys are absolutely pure. On top of everything (and this one is not a cliché, it's just silly), there is a female U.S. president who is a secret supporter of the witches and may even be a witch herself.  We meet her briefly in book 1, but she'll be back.

     In this world, witches are treated just as badly as they were during the time of the Salem witch trials. The series story arc focuses on a coven of witches who opened a portal to the underworld centuries ago, allowing demons to escape into the mortal world. In penance, the witches cast a spell of atonement, sentencing themselves to 810 years without their powers. Now, that time is up, and the witches are beginning to awaken, one every thirty days.  Each witch is protected by an Eternal, a sexy, immortal man whose power comes from the sun god, Belen. Why the sun god? Who knows. The witches used a black silver Artifact to temporarily close the portal. Then, each witch took a shard of the Artifact and hid it away until the awakening. Now, each witch and her Eternal must bring her shard to the Haven so that the shards can be used to close the portal permanently.  In the meantime, each couple must have as much sex as possible because sex is what seals the bond between each witch and her Eternal, and they must be fully bonded to achieve their full magical powers. See what I mean about the series being a stewa little bit of everything thrown together and heated to an X-rated boil.
       BOOK 1: Visions of Magic      
     In the first book, the heroine is Shea Jameson, whose aunt set off the whole anti-witch movement when she accidentally killed someone with a spell. Shea has been on the move since then, hiding from the MPs who believe that she is a witch just like her aunt. When Shea publicly kills an attacker with a spell and is almost caught, her enforcer (Torin) arrives in a burst of flames to rescue her. Shea, of course, is just in the very early stages of her awakening, and she doesn't have a clue as to what is going on. When she wakes up in Torin's bedroom, he spends about five minutes explaining a tiny bit of what's going on, and then we have this scene:
     "There is no escape from your destiny, Shea. Tonight it begins."
     She scrambled away from him, never daring to take her gaze from him. "What? What begins tonight."
     Torin walked across the room, opened the door and stepped through it. Before he closed it again, he sent her one long look and said simply, "The mating ritual." (p. 20)

     Now really, what's a girl to do? She's never seen this fiery guy before and he plans to mate with hertonight. What Shea does (and so would you) is jump out of the windowunfortunately, right into the arms of the MPs. And this is how their story goesalways one step ahead of the MPs...or the Seekers...or the evil witch. And when they're not running, they're having sex.  
     I won't be reading or reviewing the remaining books in this series—way too painful for me.  

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