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Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown by Michael Alan Nelson eARC (2 stars)

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Hexed is a good example of what I would call "right setting, wrong story." Approximately 90% of Hexed revolves around a girl who won't shut up about her crush. Yes, the synopsis clearly indicates romantic angst will be present, but I didn't expect a tidal wave of it. The last quarter of the book finally delivers on some of the action and magical danger the synopsis promises, but, for me, it was too little, too late.

This eARC was provided through Edelweiss for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Hexed: The Sisters of Witchdown by Michael Alan Nelson
Series: ?
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Published on May 5, 2015
Published by Pyr
Final Rating: 2 stars
Luci Jenifer Inacio das Neves, Lucifer for short, isn't your typical teenaged girl. She's a thief who survives by stealing bad things from bad people in the magical and mystical underworld hidden beneath our own. So when a policeman's daughter, Gina, is kidnapped by a force he can't explain, Lucifer is the only one who has a chance at getting his daughter back.

With the unsolicited help of Gina's friends, including Gina's boyfriend David, Lucifer's investigation leads to the unfortunate truth of the kidnapping. Gina was taken to an otherworldly dimension by a creature of unspeakable evil: one of the Seven Sisters of Witchdown. Against all odds, Lucifer must use every magical tool hidden in her trick bag to steal her way into the Shade and bring Gina back before the Sister sacrifices her for her own dark ends. But the closer Lucifer gets to Gina, the closer she gets to David. And David to her. Lucifer must risk her life by confronting demons, witches, and the cruel demigoddess controlling her destiny - all to save the one girl who stands in the way of Lucifer finally finding love.

Based on the synopsis and the source material, I expected Hexed to be a kick-butt YA urban fantasy. Certain scenes met this expectation, but the book as a whole did not.

If we saw half of the stuff Lucifer talks about doing before (with ease) or half of the dangerous, magic life she claims to live, this could have been one exciting thrill ride. Instead, the book focuses on her crush and tells us how much the boy distracts her a ridiculous number of the middle of dangerous thefts. I think this undermines her character, makes her seem ridiculous and incompetent, and, honestly, it made me wonder why she hasn't died yet.

Lucifer's few solo gigs provide a much better picture of her competency and personality and are better paced. The brief descriptions of and hints at her past sound interesting. If the next book avoids romance, stops beating the reader over the head with how fascinating Lucifer finds "normal" teenagers' lives (because it's not fascinating to us), and generally does more showing instead of telling, this could be a fun YA series. (Note: I can't find whether this is going to be a series, but the ending certainly sets the stage for another story.)

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