Book: The Water Witch
Author: Juliet Dark
Summary (from back of Ballantine Books version): 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 stream, more trouble is stirring… The enchanted town of Farwick’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. - Ballantine Books, 2013
This book is the sequel to The Demon Lover. I would not advise reading the sequels on their own or the trilogy out of order because you would not only spoil yourself, but you wouldn't understand what was going on. Dark/Goodman spends very little time going over past events in past books and you're expecting to know the characters from reading the previous novels. The only exception is when a new character is introduced.
The Water Witch picks up right from where The Demon Lover left off. There is little to no back story provided. I would even advise reading these books one right after another, though it did leave me a little exhausted.
Like all trilogies, the sequels suffer from not being as good as the first. They're not terrible, but they're definitely not as entertaining as the first book. I'd say of the two sequels Water Witch is slightly better than Angel Stone. But I'll get to Angel Stone later.
Basic Plot: It's hard not to give anything away spoiler-wise so this will be brief. Following the events of Demon Lover, Callie must pick up the pieces after the end of her relationship with her incubus and try to acclimate to life without him. At the same time, she must come to terms with who and what she really is while defending Fairwick and its inhabitants from a threat that could destroy the community forever.
Comments: As this is a sequel, I can't say much without spoiling plot points. Speaking of plot, this story in regards to its timeline is pretty fast. I'd say that the entire plot takes place in less than a week. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Dark/Goodman doesn't drag anything out and keeps events straight and to the point. Moments of seclusion and soliloquy are rare and brief.
It does, however, suffer on its suspense and plot twists. Some of them were predictable from the start, even if they weren't confirmed until near the end of the book. This applies primarily to the main antagonist of the book. The way the antagonist gets into Callie's life, however, is pretty clever, so I can't say anything too bad about this point.
The characters were enjoyable as always. I have nothing bad to say about them. New characters were few, but memorable enough so that you weren't scratching your head and saying "Now where did they come from?" after they're introduced again.
As for a romance, there is almost little to none. Like I said in my Demon Lover review, the romance is pushed to the side so that the main action of the story is on Callie finding herself and decide what she wants to do with her life. The loss of her demon lover does cripple her, but not to the extent of, say, Bella doing dangerous things in order to see Edward in the Twilight Saga. It makes her vulnerable and, yes, weak. But, from the way Dark/Goodman sets up the romance, it's meant to be this way. Not having her incubus hurts Callie as much as it hurts the incubus to not have Callie. It's a symbiotic relationship, contrary to that of a typical incubus-human relationship. It can also be likened to a mutual addiction. They're both in withdrawal and they both suffer for it. It's also not entirely certain on whether or not incubus will come back. It's not guaranteed and that's an interesting point to focus on and indulge in.
The ending of the novel was a bit of a surprise for me and if it wasn't for the fact that I already owned the last novel, I would've been ten times more anxious. In spite of its pitfalls in suspense and tension, this does set up the final novel well.
I think only the readers of Demon Lover would enjoy this, simply because the set up of this and Angel Stone don't leave room for new readers to catch up. You have to start with Demon Lover or you won't entirely understand everything.
I give The Water Witch an A-.
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