Do you remember The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare where a normal teenager gets mixed up with creatures like faeries and werewolves and angels?
Or Ink Exchange from Melissa Marr dealing with faeries and tattoos?
Or maybe the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy?
Well, there is this book about a teenage girl just turning 16, moving schools into a new town and finding out that when the clock ticks on her 16th birthday she will turn either into a destructive dark witch or a good-natured white witch. She falls in love, meets some villains and has a great time in a small minded town when her powers start showing.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
OK, it’s a young adult book, designed for young adults, and targeted for teenagers who have trouble fitting in. And who doesn’t have any troubles like that?
Sixteen-year-old Ethan Wate lives in Gatlin, South Carolina, with his widowed father and his nana (who also brought up his father) as a stand-in for his mother.
Lena Duchannes is a mysterious girl with magical powers who appears in Ethan’s recurring nightmares. Though she initially rebuffs his attempts at interacting with her, they eventually become friends despite harassment from other classmates that almost gets her expelled. Lena’s uncle Macon Ravenwood also attempts to keep Ethan and Lena apart to protect them. Every member of Lena’s family is a “Caster” with magical powers. On Lena’s sixteenth birthday, she will be “claimed” as either a Light or Dark Caster, but she is terrified of becoming an evil Dark Caster.
Meanwhile, Ethan discovers a locket at Ravenwood Manor, Lena’s home, that induces visions of Lena’s ancestor Genevieve Duchannes and Ethan’s ancestor Ethan Carter Wate, who were engaged during the Civil War. Through the locket, they discover that Genevieve tried to resurrect Ethan Carter Wate using the magical Book of Moons. Due to Genevieve’s use of the spell, the Book has the ability to determine which of the Duchannes will be Light or Dark. Ethan and Lena find the Book of Moons in Genevieve’s grave and study it for ways to prevent Lena from becoming Dark. Furthermore, Lena is continuously spiritually attacked by a Dark Caster named Sarafine, whom is actually her mother. While the Duchannes cannot prevent the attacks, Ethan’s presence seems to stop them.
Lena’s sixteenth birthday is celebrated by Ethan, the Duchannes, and her classmates. Macon forbids Lena to attend the party set up by her classmates, but Lena sneaks out anyway and confesses her love to Ethan, who reciprocates. Sarafine reveals herself at the party, accompanied by incubus Hunting Ravenwood. Sarafine tells Lena that she will be able to Claim herself for the Dark or Light at midnight. If she chooses to go Dark, all the Light Casters in her family will die, but she would be able to have a previously-impossible physical relationship with Ethan. If she chooses to go Light, all the Dark Casters in her family will die, including Macon. A fight occurs, culminating in Sarafine escaping and Hunting nearly killing Macon. After Ethan gathers the other Duchannes for help, Ethan searches for Lena, but instead meets Sarafine, who kills him. At midnight, Lena uses her power over nature to block out the moonlight, preventing her from being claimed. She recites a spell from the Book of Moons to resurrect Ethan. The spell works, but as payment, the Book kills Macon.
What I liked
The romance. The couple of Lena and Ethan is really sweet!
I felt like I had sucked the air out of a giant balloon, like my brain wasn’t getting enough oxygen.
“I know you write poetry and I know about the raven on your necklace and I know you love orange soda and your grandma and Milk Duds mixed into your popcorn.” For a second, I thought she might smile. “That’s hardly anything,” [she said]. “It’s a start.”
I looked into her eyes, and I knew I was going to kiss her, and I knew there was nothing to worry about, as long as we stayed together. And I believed, for that one second, we always would.
She looked up at me, and the whole world disappeared. Like there was just us, like there would always be just us, and we didn’t need magic for that.
The dinner scene. It’s so typical of a big family! You have the odd cousin, the granny who seems oblivious to everyone, the seducing vixen across the table, the guest who did not want to come, the Pater – father of the family – who tries to keep everything together. And an abundance of food.
The movie adaptation
The movie did not suck and as far as it goes, it did a pretty good job.
The heroine to join the cast of powerful females: Lena!