Friday, September 10, 2010

The Willow by Stacey Kennedy

The Willow by Stacey Kennedy

Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Heat Rating: 2



In Carson City, Nevada, a tragic car accident has claimed the lives of Nexi Jones’ adoptive parents. Now, without them, the loss could be overcome, but not for Nexi. Now, without them, her reason to live has vanished and she is determined to end her pain.

The problem with that, it’s not heaven she wakes up to, it’s the Otherworld. Nexi must reconcile the truth about her past, and her heritage as part guardian/part witch, while she begins to train to join the Council’s guard. But it’s not the combat training that has her worried, its attempting to keep her cool around the luscious guardian, Kyden that’s her biggest concern.

Before long, Nexi’s skills are put to the test as she begins to fight against the supernatural who have taken a human life. But nothing can prepare her for the journey ahead. Soon, she will find herself lost in a mystery and fighting to keep all she’s gained, as Lazarus, a vampire, threatens to take it all away.

Hunter’s Review

For me, The Willow: The Magical Sword Book One started out a little rough around the edges. Our heroine, Nexi, commits suicide. This happens on the first page of the book and as she lays dying beneath her favorite tree, a Willow, a man appears to her and tells her he has found her. She has a moment where she finds him very attractive before she passes out. The man, we soon find out, is Drake her father. (Cue a little ick music here.)

Nexi, we find out, is half-guardian, half-witch who was sent from the Otherworld to Earthworld as a baby after a really bad vampire names Lazarus killed her mother. Now that she’s back she has to be trained to be a guardian, whose job it is to protect humans from being hurt by ‘supes’ or Supernatural people like Werewolves and Vampires. Not to worry, she is going to have lots of help from her mentor, the very hot, very delicious Kyden, and her ‘soul-sister’ Haven.

The book is a first person narrative that allows us the reader to come along with Nexi on her journey of self-discovery as she lusts after Kyden and tries to come to terms with the things she doesn’t know. Now, the book is packed with lots of humor, which is nice, but it seems to come across as false in a lot of places where seriousness would be called for. She’s just been through a major trauma—the suicide is dealt with twice, first with her father who doesn’t seem bothered by it and then by Kyden and Haven, who also don’t have much to say on the subject and as for Nexi she moves forward like not much happened to her at all.

Ms. Kennedy has crafted a wonderful hero in Kyden, he has just enough swagger to make the reader wonder about his intentions even as Nexi starts to trust him. For me, while I was able to snicker some of the time—particularly when Nexi is learning to fight and landing on her rear end more than anywhere else—there were times I really wanted to tell her to stop making snide remarks and to get with the program. Also, there is a kind of ambiguity left between Nexi and Haven. Are they sisters? Do they have deeper feelings for each other? Is there a threesome coming?

But, Ms. Kennedy is a wonderful writer. She weaves a story well balancing a lot of different plots that ultimately come together well at the end. Nothing gets forgotten. It is my hope that in the follow up book—The Wicked, which I think has just come out—we will get to see a little more of the true Nexi and not so much of her surface humor. I think fans of lighthearted paranormals will really enjoy reading this. Do be prepared to laugh sometimes with, sometimes at the heroine.

3 Tea Cups!


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