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Review: Witch Eyes

Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey will be released in the U.S. on September 8, 2011. It is currently available to pre-order online in paperback format only at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Flux, the print edition is 336 pages.

Witch Eyes is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com and is one of my original twelve picks.

Goodreads description:

Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden’s powers to unlock Belle Dam’s secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father–and Trey, the enigmatic guy he’s falling for, is Catherine’s son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.

***

Belle Dam is a town that has been shrouded in darkness ever since its inception. It is a town divided by a feud between the two powerful families who keep its secrets – the Lansing’s and the Thorpe’s. It is a town whose residents must choose sides in this battle that has continued to rage through generations.

And it is the town to which Braden Michaels runs in order to protect his uncle from the vision of a future which cost him his life.

But when Braden learns that Belle Dam was once home to someone who shared his gift and his curse – the witch eyes that allow him to see the truth of the world around him – he is determined to learn everything he can so that he will finally be able to master his abilities and find an escape from the pain that accompanies his visions.

Digging up secrets from the past would be a huge risk and one that could turn the spotlight on him and his powers. But Braden is desperate to find answers.

Even if it meant getting drawn into a fight that wasn’t his. And even if it meant that the secrets he’d been keeping would come to light. Because having a chance at a life without pain was worth almost any price, including the risk of losing someone he loved.

But Braden planned on keeping his secrets for as long as he could.

***

Witch Eyes is exciting, intense, beautiful, heartbreaking and incredibly original. Beginning in a binding circle and ending on a small cliff, this story introduces readers to Braden Michaels, a witch with a very unique gift, and Belle Dam, the town that is home to two powerful feuding families that would like nothing more than to have Braden on their side.

Braden has the ability to see the world as it really is and in doing so can unravel any magical spells that are cast. His power would prove very useful to either family, should he choose to align himself with one of them. Which meant that as long as he could hide what powers he had, he wouldn’t be forced to choose.

When Braden ran away from home in order to prevent his uncle’s death, he thought that Belle Dam would be a safe haven and a place where he could get answers. A place where he’d have a chance to just be normal.

But from the moment he arrived, he knew that there was something different about this town and its residents and that hiding out would not be an option. And when he discovers something about himself and his past, keeping his secrets and remaining hidden would become more important than ever.

Witch Eyes pulls readers into a dark and dangerous world of magic, spells and witchcraft and into a town that is wrapped in secrecy, where anyone can be an enemy.

Author Scott Tracey has created a story that will keep readers in suspense from the very beginning about who is the threat, who can be trusted and how can Braden possibly hope to keep his abilities secret in a town ruled by two very powerful witches.

The writing is elegant and flows beautifully, with incredibly descriptive passages detailing Braden’s experiences as he sees the world with his unshielded eyes. And the author injects humor into the story through Braden’s thoughts, clever comebacks and one-liners.

The characters have a unique set of abilities that serve to distinguish this story from others in the genre. Most notably are Braden’s witch eyes, which give him great power, but come at an equally significant cost.

This action-filled, magical tale, which includes a mystery and a love story, builds to an exciting conclusion that will leave readers wondering what will happen next.

Witch Eyes is a must for readers looking to be captivated by not only the writing, but the characters and the story, and readers who are interested in meeting a witch with some rather incredible powers that might actually be more harmful to him than the magic he can wield.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=6]. Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note:

Yes, I’m in love. Again. And yes, it may have started out as insta-love. But it turned into one of those slow burning loves that continued to grow until it became all-encompassing. Will I gush? Maybe….Just a little bit.

This is one of those books where I just want to dive back into the world. Get caught back up in the vortex that held me captive the first and second times I read it. I’m not ready to leave Belle Dam or walk away from Braden. I don’t want to have to say goodbye.

There’s so much more I want to know. Now. Not a year from now. The wait just might kill me.

Belle Dam holds so many secrets, only a few of which were revealed by Braden’s witch eyes. I want to learn more about its past, the power that shaped the town, the feud that holds it hostage and the residents, like Riley, who were forced to choose sides.

And then there’s Braden. I’m definitely not ready to leave him. Not with the way things ended. I feel like I only just started to get to know him. He is still such a mystery. He is funny, shy, sarcastic, stubborn, clever and brave, but he is incredibly reluctant to open up and share what he’s feeling. With anyone. Including Trey… Especially Trey.

I can’t get over how amazingly beautiful the author’s writing is. I knew before I actually got my hands on a copy of the book that there was this fluidity to his writing that just took me right into the story. Witch Eyes is the only book I’ve been able to hear read aloud where I was instantly transported into the story instead of having to fight to focus.

And I absolutely loved the passages that described Braden’s visions. They were these dazzling flashes of poetry that perfectly described the onslaught of sensation that Braden felt every time he lifted his sunglasses and looked at the world.

But the writing wasn’t all poetry and lovely passages. There was plenty of action, super cool magical powers and a mystery which kept me riveted. And there were so many moments of humor that made me laugh. Loudly. There may have even been a few eye rolls, head shakes and Oh, Braden‘s.

Oh, and another thing I loved was that the author didn’t have Braden assess his own looks in any real way. He never made Braden step out of character in order to give readers a better idea of what Braden ranked on the hottie scale.

Whenever I get super excited about a book before I actually read it, I’m terrified that it won’t live up to my expectations. There’s always this risk that I won’t connect with the story or characters, or it will just be one of those books that’s not for me. And because this book was from a male character’s point-of-view there was an even greater chance that I just wouldn’t make that connection.

Yeah, well, I did. This book is so totally me. Right from the start I was completely absorbed by this book, even with my fear of witches, and I fell madly in love with Braden as a main character. He has just the right amount of sarcasm to make him someone I can relate to. Plus, he is not cocky or arrogant even though he must be pretty good looking if he captured Trey’s attention from the second he stepped off the bus.

And I am partial to stories that give me that pit in my stomach that lets me know that things just won’t end well. As soon as Braden arrived in Belle Dam, there was this feeling of melancholy that kept building. Like I knew that things would end in heartbreak. And no matter how much sarcasm and humor were dished out on the surface, the darkness that crept through Belle Dam seeped right through the pages and into my heart. Leaving me utterly wrecked at the very end.

Witch Eyes completely stole my heart and then broke it. The first line grabbed me and the last line destroyed me and all that stuff in between left its permanent mark on me. I did not forget one single moment between my first read and my second, and that almost never happens. Ohhh, Braden…

I am dying to find out what’s going on with Braden, Trey, Jade (I love her!), Riley, Drew and even Catherine and Jason. And I really am curious as to what’s happening in Montana with Uncle Jonathan.

Favorite passage: (I actually have eight favorites so it was tough to choose just one)

I’d like to say I had crazy dreams that made sense in few ways, but still managed to leave portents of the future all wrapped up in a nice and neat little bow. Instead, I dreamt of hamburgers.

Is this not such a perfect example of beautiful, flowing writing topped off with just the right amount of humor?

***

UPDATED: Book trailer for Witch Eyes:

This review is based on an ARC I received through a trade with another blogger.

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