by Amber Benson
Series: The Witches of Echo Park #1
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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From beloved author, director, and actress, Amber Benson…Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls… When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her. Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…
The Witches of Echo Park is the first in an urban fantasy series by Amber Benson. The tale unfolds in Los Angeles and introduces us to a unique cast of female witches and a plot to eliminate them all. Spells, ghosts, threats and a unique coven drew me in. While at times it felt like young adult, I am very curious to see how it unfolds.
- The Witches of Echo Park has secret covens, a premonition foretold, a dying great-aunt and a protagonist who knows none of their secrets. Death, secrets, evil and more are weaved into the story. The tale takes place in Echo Park. It is one of many places on Earth where magic flows. The premise is interesting with secret societies and a great evil referred to as the Flood.
- The characters particular the witches are quite interesting and each unique. Lyse MacAllister was saved by her great-aunt Eleanora. She is gravely ill and Lyse leaves Georgia to be with her. She learns her aunt is a witch when she is asked to take part in a ritual to join the coven. One member named Dev, is a card reader and something more. Weir, is a young man Lyse is drawn too. I am curious to see how his role develops. Lizbeth, is a young woman damaged by the past who does not speak but may hold the key. Daniela is an empathy, who wears gloves even in the middle of summer. She loves her children and takes pride in a strange wreath. Arrabelle is an herbalist who mixes all sorts of concoctions. Hessika was the woman who saved Eleanora but is no more. There are villains and more throughout the novel.
- Blood spells, horned Gods and other interesting tid-bits like flashbacks from Eleanora’s life were interesting and kept me engaged. The plot moves slowly as Benson fleshes out the world and gives us some background regarding the characters.
- There is a romance albeit a weird one and I am expecting a little witchy reasoning behind it all. No insta-love or triangles but I would call this insta-lust. The romance stayed firmly in the background without much movement.
- We know an evil is coming but we do not learn very much about the Flood, despite many references to it. Lyse is very new to the coven and aside from vivid dreams we do not yet know her role.
- The Witches of Echo Park despite a unique cast of characters, and premise did not move forward and felt more like an introduction.
- As unique, as each character was I learned nothing about them. I am hoping we see more development in the next book.
- Cast in the adult genre, the story had a young adult vibe to it. Aside from a sexual ritual and the occasional swear word the main protagonist felt like a teen, as did Lizbeth.
- I was never bored while reading this but I never became completely lost in it either. I will try the next book in the series before deciding whether to continue.
The Witched of Echo Park offered a unique cast of characters and I am curious to see how the series develops.