Wittchen’s debut fantasy, the first in a planned series, follows a teenage girl with the ability to see fairies as she finds her birth father as well as her origin in a world of demons and supernatural beings.
Tempest Laurier knows she’s not a typical 17-year-old: She can see faeries of varying sizes when seemingly no one else can, and she somehow knows that a miasma (“natural energy”) within her adoptive father’s necklace has possessed the man, precipitating his uncharacteristically abusive behavior toward her. When she wanders into the Unseelie Court, the darkest part of the land of Faerie, she encounters Cormac, the Black Knight, who tells her that she’s a halfling and the granddaughter of Marquis, the king of the Unseelie Court. Also, her biological father, she learns, is Kione, the Dark King of the demons. As Tempest slowly develops powers, including the “black flame” that leaves even demons in awe, she doesn’t know who to trust: Cormac is protective of her, but Marquis apparently wants her dead; Kione is keeping secrets from her; and the demons try to convince Tempest that Declan, the boy she’s fallen for, is duplicitous. The author’s novel has a jarring style with sudden transitions among numerous scenes, befitting of Tempest’s aberrant perspective. In a memorable scene, for instance, she stands outside Declan’s condo door as he speaks to other people, and she hears Declan begin a statement that he finishes by sending her a text. In her unnerving visions she sees ghostly figures or creatures that converse with her; sometimes, she sees events, such as a horrific scene with her Pomeranian, Cupcake, that haven’t actually happened. Wittchen fills the pages with fantastical beings beyond faeries and demons—a lycanthrope, a vampire, a witch—few of whom are heavily featured in this story, though they will likely return in a future entry in the series. Tempest may lose a bit of sympathy by succumbing to the immaturity suitable to her age: She slams her bedroom door and rolls her eyes repeatedly, and despite constant threats to her life, she parties quite a lot, usually at a club called the Slaughter House. But the series should give her ample room to grow, and a girl shrewd enough to acknowledge that the reason she quips is to disguise her fear—“Sometimes it’s easier to joke about things then admit that I was scared”—is already on her way.
Though the heroine is very nearly surpassed by the story’s preternatural elements, her anomaly, even among the creatures, will have readers hooked.