A witch with dormant powers returns home to face an enigmatic killer and a possible family curse in the first installment of Mitchell’s (Cloak of Deceit, 2015) Skydancer fantasy series.
Briana “Bri” Spurrier is a promising young pianist living in Australia who’s on the verge of a record deal. She was born into a line of witches, the Zyne, who live in the San Juan Islands, but she left that world behind when she was 17; her powers were “bound,” or prevented from appearing, by her Oracle grandmother, Ce-Ce. There are, however, occasional flares of magic: specifically, Bri has a vision of Ce-Ce getting in a fatal car accident with Bri’s little sis, Tara. She goes back home, suspecting that her loved ones were actually murdered due to Ce-Ce’s cryptic message to her: “It’s him.” She’s also having visions of the killer (without seeing his face), but in order to track him down, she needs to be able to use her powers. Bri will need help from magic-law enforcers on the Synod Council, including her estranged father. There’s also a chance that she’s in danger from a curse on her family, but Bri is certain that she’s after a demon—one who wants a relic that she may or may not have. Mitchell’s tale is packed with enthralling subplots; for example, Bri discovers newfound powers, and she must also deal with her old flame, Kean, a Ward (or Zyne warrior), while her boyfriend Eric’s back in Australia. Even simple actions receive colorful descriptions: “His somber mask slid back into place, and his hands disappeared into his sleeves.” Much of the humor, meanwhile, comes through more mundane details, as when Bri has “that ‘wtf?’ look on her face.” A few reveals are outstanding, such as the explanation of the series’ title, and characters’ dilemmas are genuinely engaging: if Bri can somehow see the future, can she also change it? The ending will surely leave readers wanting more of Briana and the Zyne.
A first-rate introduction to a protagonist as remarkable as the magic she wields.