Illicit Magic (Stella Mayweather #1)Illicit Magic
by Camilla Chafer

My rating:

Wow, so as many of you can see, this is not my usual fare.

This was recommended to me by a friend (that’s you Jackie) and I was told that this book would appeal to the YA group who wanted an older cast of characters. Since the main reason I don’t read YA is that I actually get irritated with the teens, I thought this might be a nice change. Stella, our protagonist, is 24. She’s spent her life in London’s foster care system, constantly being carted from one home to another since strange things seemed to happen around her.

We enter the story as she’s walking home from yet another temp job (she never stays too long, just in case someone notices she’s different). The ladies at work warned each other to walk in pairs, and to be safe, since there have been many recent burnings of women. On her normally uneventful walk to her flat, her instincts kick in and tell her DANGER! DANGER! As she never ignores her instincts, she is very alert. Adn then it happens. She is being followed. Stalked. And she runs! Hiding, she is in full-panic mode, just as someone grabs her by the throat and grits “Witch” in her ear, she poofs herself across the street! Holy moly how did that happen? Stella is grateful her power kicked in when she needed it, as hers are super unpredictable, but at the same time, she even surprised herself.

She runs to her flat, and while there, a woman knocks on her door telling her to come with her NOW. Stella figures the woman is nuts and then the nice lady poofs herself into Stella’s room. Just like Stella can do, only much more controlled. What happens from there is that they are attacked by the Brotherhood-an anti-witch organization. More, the Brotherhood then sends a video to the media detailing the witches they’ve burnt at the stake, and telling the world that they are coming for more.

As soon as Stella is rescued, she and her new friend Etoile hop the first flight to New York, where she meets many others like herself, then is attacked once more (and this time it looks like an inside job, even thought it’s blamed on the Brotherhood), and Stella is once more shuttled somewhere new. This is where the majority of the story takes place-a safe house where witches can learn the craft and come into their powers.

She meets both Marc and Evan and while she has feelings for both, only one will win her heart. In the meantime, very little happens. Once you can get used to the writing, it’s a good book. The tone of the book is VERY British, and I’m super lucky to have some twitter friends in the UK who helped me out with some of the words. It’s not necessary to have a British bud for your English-to- English translations, as most words were obvious within their context, but a few did confuse me. Another thing, is that even the Americans sound English. I am not listing this as a fault AT ALL, it was interesting. As an American writer, I write about Scotland, I wonder if all my Scots sound American? So, my non-American friends, do you find that many of our books sound American?

But my feelings on this book are that while the book itself is more of what happens with Stella, and Stella learning to control her powers, when the action does happen, it’s crazy intense. The writing is addictive and will make you want to keep reading. The ending was so hard! Why? Why would you do that to us? I can see our author rubbing her hands in evil glee laughing an evil laugh thinking “Yes, my pretties, you will have to read to find out…muahahahaha!!!”

After the big, huge plot twist (that I did not figure out until right at that moment!), everyone leaves Stella for safety and medical care. This bothered me since they all had a lot invested in her, and while Etoile, and her sister Seren had a lot on their plates at the moment, I don’t see them having left Stella to fend for herself in that house. I also don’t see David not having called someone since he was there supervising clean-up. Evan, oh Evan, I hope you are okay, and that yoou go after her! And Stella, you did all that covering your tracks to go to the one place that can be traced to you. Evan is gonna find you! (I hope, I hope!) And Marc, I really want to sit down and have a talk with Marc. Sigh, I’ll have to wait til the end of July so I can get the second book Unruly Magic.

Final thoughts? It’s not a romance, but there is a romance in there that I like, and it’s not quite an urban fantasy-maybe more in the lines of a light UF meets cozy mystery. Enjoy readers.
**thanks to the author for the review copy