A Witch comes to the aid of an imprisoned Immortal, who vows to help her find her way back home in this YA paranormal romance.
Celestia Devereaux, like most students at her Louisiana high school, is a Witch. She astral projects to different places when she has a premonition, feeling obligated to prevent someone’s injury or death. So when she projects to a dark room with Eirik Baldurson, she assumes the ruggedly handsome blond needs her help. But something’s off: Celestia doesn’t seem to be on an astral plane, Eirik both seeing and interacting with her. Eirik, as it happens, is in Hel, a realm for the dead. He’s just reunited with his Hel-ruling goddess Mom, likewise named Hel, who welcomes Eirik home by tossing him in a dungeon, the start of his training to enact revenge on the deity Norns, who kidnapped him as a child. Celestia brings the starving Immortal clothes and food, but this time can’t project back to Earth, getting only as far as a cave with a humming voice. Realizing Celestia’s not an escaped soul, Eirik convinces others she’s his servant, the two hoping to get her home. As mutual attraction intensifies, Eirik fears she’ll see his true form while Celestia worries there’s truth behind her estranged mother’s prediction that she’s a harbinger of death. Unquestionably a romance above all else, the bulk of this story is the teen couple confined to Hel, often together and secretly admiring each other’s allure. Celestia’s cynicism is relentless but nicely balanced with endearment, like the girl cheering on a boxing Eirik, and the Immortal calling her Dimples. Walters (Witches, 2015, etc.) energizes the narrative with later revelations, including new details of Eirik’s abduction, the reason for his back’s sporadic itchiness, and what’s in the cave prohibiting Celestia from leaving. The initially unnerving Hel becomes decidedly less so as, for example, Eirik trains at a gym outfitted with goodies—steam/sauna rooms and tanning booths. Humor, however, is welcome: Celestia returns to Eirik’s room and first sees a lamb (Hel taunting her son), theorizing that the Immortal is a “sheep shifter.”
A slow but divine start to an attractive hero’s trilogy, companion pieces for the author’s ongoing Runes series.