Author: Yasmine Galenorn
Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Paranormal
Publication date: 2006
We’re the D’Artigo Sisters: Half-human, half-Faerie, we’re savvy–and sexy–operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But our mixed-blood heritage short-circuits our talents at all the wrong times. My sister Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she’s stressed. Menolly’s a vampire who’s still trying to get the hang of being undead. And me? I’m Camille–a wicked-good witch. Except my magic is as unpredictable as the weather, which my enemies are about to find out the hard way…
At the Wayfarer Inn, a portal to Otherworld and the local hangout for humans and beasties alike, our fellow operative, Jocko, has been murdered. Every clue points to Shadow Wing, the soul-munching, badass leader of the Subterranean Realms. He’s made it clear that he aims to raze humankind to the ground, turning both Earth and Otherworld into his private playground. Our assignment: keep Shadow Wing and his minions from creeping into Earth via the Wayfarer. The demons figure they’re in like Flynn. After all, with only my bumbling sisters and me standing in the way, how can they miss? But we’ve got a secret for them: Faulty wiring or not, nobody kicks ass like the D’Artigo girls. . .
Lately, I’ve noticed I pick the most random things to read. Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn was one of those choices. And I’m afraid that the review to follow will not be very flattering.
The beginning is promising — we have the human world on one side and the Otherworld, a place of magic and magical beings, on the other. In the very center are three sisters – Camille, Delilah and Menolly – who are half-human, half-faerie. They have recently moved to the human world as secret agents that are there to investigate any crime faerie-related and report back to their faerie equivalent of government. Also, humans know about faerie and other magical creatures. So far we have the premise of a good story that can be taken so many places. I was so hopeful since I was sick and tired of the same old plot about vampires or werewolves that hide among humans.
I’m sad to say that the story fell through halfway through the first part and I was struggling to finish it to the bitter end. Let me explain why.
Having the sisters being half-human half-faerie is a great move. It makes them different, it makes them unique and it makes them interesting. But the author went a little overboard with their characters without any decent explanation. For example, Camille is a witch which draws her power from the Moon Goddess and whose powers misfire half of the time. That would have been believable but the only times her powers don’t work are actually the times that didn’t matter. In all battles, chases and etc she was deus ex machina all while repeating how often the powers don’t work. It became really annoying fast.
Then we have Delilah – she is a werecat. This means she can turn into a cat – but only a tabby cat! – at will. In her case, she does that every time somebody argues or if she is stressed. Which is an absurd power and has nothing to do with Camille’s heritage even though they are full sisters.
And finally we have Menolly – nobody knows what her birth powers or defects are, we just know that she had become a vampire which is, apparently, all that matters about her. She was nothing before that even though the girls are much older than the early twenties they appear to be.
I don’t mind characters that stand out but for the love of god, they can’t be all special snowflakes. And I can’t get over the fact that they share the same parents but they do not share similar appearances or powers. I could get on board of that if there was some kind of explanation or logic besides the author’s need for those specific abilities, but there was no such thing in this book.
Another thing I found extremely annoying (this may be just me but…) is that Camille seems to be something of a dick magnet Mary Sue. Pardon my language but I don’t know what else to call her. She is curvy, with big breasts, violet eyes and dark hair. She is witty and all of the semi-decent comebacks are hers. Every man in her life either wants to sleep with her or she has slept with him already. She always says that her spells fail half of the time but they never do in the book with minor exceptions like a magical lock on the door not working when in the end they locked the tied enemy in the closet with a normal key. Oh, and she can think about sex no matter the situation. Even when being attacked by a demon who she claims can kill her as easily as a bug on a windshield. The funny thing was that the sex scenes with her, which she claimed were explosive, were so plain that I got bored in just a couple of paragraphs.
But what got me the most was the repetitions. Yasmine Galenorn has an easy to read style and for the most part, her dialogue and prose are in a good balance. However, her characters repeat themselves ALL THE TIME. If Camille has a conversation with one other character then everything she learns from him will be repeated at least one more time in front of the rest of the characters. And I don’t mean a short transition like ‘She told them what they have found out.’. I mean a full-blown conversation on the same subject with the exact same information. If you cut those scenes I am positive you’ll get 20 to 30% of the book. No kidding.
Gosh, this review sounded really mean now that I think about it. It was not my point at all and to be honest, it wasn’t all bad. It had a few good things like the plot — the idea of a threat from the demonkind who want to breach the walls between Earth and Otherworld and conquer all, sets up for a great adventure with a lot of twists. Maybe that is why there are 21 books (plus extras). Maybe it gets better, it must be otherwise who would read all of those books? I honestly hope so since I don’t think it can get any worse.
I’ll give Witchling 2/5 stars just because of the idea and because the writing wasn’t terrible. I grew to love paranormal fantasy stories and I had big hopes for this one but considering how it started I’ll think long and hard about continuing the series.
What about you? What rating would you give? What are your thoughts and takes on Witchling?