Monday, September 17, 2012

Early Review: Mark of the Witch (the Portal #1) by Maggie Shayne

A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn't believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she's forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. 

Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira's sacred calling. Yet there's something even Tomas doesn't know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of the woman he's come to love-and saving the world.

Type: Paranormal Romance, Witches, some 1st person POV
Heat: 2/5
Rating: 4/5
Release Date: 9/18/12

Mark of the Witch was a crazy read and a very interesting start to a new series by Maggie Shayne. It's got all kinds of good stuff. Witches, Priests, human sacrifices and murder, secret religious sects. Soul-mates, betrayals and past lives violently manifesting. It's a non-stop wild ride that's fascinating, unique and so damn good you'll want to savor it. Slowly.

The basic plot is that 3,500 years ago a secret religious sect trapped a Demon intent on destroying the world and that demon now has the chance to escape if he can get a Witch (our heroine, Indy) to help him. Father Tomas, the hero, and his mentor have to make sure the Witch joins their side instead. Seems pretty straight forward, right? But, oh it's so not. Nothing's really quite what it seems and there's some totally freaky stuff going on that would have scared the everliving tar out of me.

The main characters, Tomas and Indy, were very nicely done. I love the unlikely "forbidden love" type pairing of The Priest and the Witch. Indy and Tomas were lovely, complicated characters each struggling with their faiths. The common inner turmoil and the spiritual journey each of them were going through added a nice depth to each of their characters. One of my favorite things was how they reacted to each other's faiths, whew, got me choked up a couple times.
"Aren't you afraid she'll strike you with lightning for saying things like that?"
"She'd be laughing with me and telling me she liked my spunk."
"I like your Goddess," he said.
"I'm pretty fond of your savior, as well."
The romance was very unique and beyond complicated. These two have some major baggage and it's not just your typical trying to figure out your feelings and if you can trust the other person type of thing either. And way beyond a Priest, who's taken vows of celibacy, falling for a Witch. No these two aren't even as simple as that. Their past lives and all of their actions and emotions from centuries past come into play too. I'm telling you it's a serious trippy mind bending kind of experience that messed with my head just as much as it did theirs. The connection between them felt real and the tension and attraction was very nicely written. Personally I would have liked a little more focus on the romance between the two but that's just my preference when reading. I love a good hot and steamy romance :)

The writing moves along quickly and the suspense had me anxious and on the edge of my seat. There's an almost treasure hunt feel to the story which was really kinda fun and has you on the look out for the next clue. Really loved that. Some things are a little predictable but you still never know exactly what's going to happen or when. Or if you can really trust any of the characters. The actual writing style was pretty interesting as well with about half the book being told in 1st person from Indy's POV. It does switch up though so you get to see/hear the other characters feeling/actions when Indy's not around which I thought was brilliantly done and helped avoid some of the issues that happen in 1st person stories.

All in all, Mark of the Witch was one of the more unique books I've read this year. From the characters to the writing style and storyline. It was just a fascinating story to watch unfold. I'm sure Shayne has another amazing adventure in store for us in book two and I'm so looking forward to seeing where the story goes from here. If the next book is anything like Mark of the Witch it'll definitely be interesting.

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Have you ever read a story like Mark of the Witch? 
Do you like unlikely couples like Indy and Tomas?


  1. I love that you enjoyed the book!
    As you know, I'm a big fan of Maggie's and I loved the book too! Thanks for you sharing your review!
    (Have you read any of her other books? I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

    1. Ooo glad you loved it too! I'm dying for the next book :)

      I haven't read too many by Shayne. Mostly novellas or in anthologies. The last one I read before this was Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. Not at all the same as this one but a pretty fun/cute read. I've got Twilight Begins next up on my TBR list for her and can't wait.

      What about you? Any suggestions on good ones?


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