Synopsis according to Goodreads:
“David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.“
Destruction was surprising. I expected, from the synopsis, something cheesy about how Christian faith overcomes to inherent eeeeevil of magic. But this was so, so much more developed, intense, and well thought-out than that.
Bayliss has applied a logic to her plot (mainly, to magic) that is flawless. Every time I thought “but, wait a minute!”, one of the characters brought up the exact same point. Every time I started analyzing, Virgo-style, a breadcrumb, one of her characters did as well. That’s not to say this book is predictable. Not at ALL.
I don’t want to give too much away, as the plot is a tense roller coaster ride (filled with…well, destruction) but it’s also a character exploration, and it centers on the question of what makes evil, and what makes good. Is it intention? action? unintended consequence? awareness?
I lovelovelovelovelove that Bayliss kept any trite “good witch/bad witch” ridiculousness out of this book. Truly, everyone is shades of moral gray. EVERYONE. And so even after someone does something horrible, it’s hard to fully hate them because they’re just fallible folks with good intentions/flawed rules/confusion/etc. She also writes conflict and reaction very realistically. Some of those conversations felt incredibly organic (like maybe the author has been through them, herself) and it added to the depth of the novel.
I have to say, Patrick is my favorite. I really related to him in a lot of ways. And I think I, too, am probably an Autumn Witch (September, maybe? Or October?). I thought we maybe got a breadcrumb at the end, during Rachel’s ramble, but I’m not totally sure, now. Regardless, I had a difficult time putting this book down. And I really need her to write Book 2, so I can continue the adventure/drama.
I highly recommend this for fans of supernatural contemporary, strong character development, family dynamics, magic, the question of what defines good and what defines evil, and a compelling read that draws you in.
Be forewarned- the plot contains some violence, in action and word.
I’m a coffee-fueled, hobby-addicted bibliophage who makes cruelty-free mineral eye shadows (inspired by novels). I’m usually in front of a screen (writing, reading, or gaming), but I’ve been known to emerge for geekery, good food, and dark chocolate.