Overall Rating for the Series: 4 (xoxo)
If you are looking for a sweet paranormal romance without all the sweaty sex stuff, you’ve found a winner in J.D. Horn’s Witching Savannah series. Mercy Taylor is a sweet heroine and while the novels all take place within about a year of Mercy turning 21, the character development is incredible. I cried, a lot, over these characters, and found my faith in love, family, and goodness renewed. That might be an odd thing for a series populated by witches, hoodoo and demons, but that’s the beauty of paranormal–it highlights the universality of such qualities.
1. The Line (4)
Set in Savannah, Georgia, the world Mercy Taylor inhabits is one of magic. While she, herself, is “The Disappointment” of her powerful witch family, she is able to recognize the otherworldliness of her hometown. When she finds her aunt dead, Mercy and her family are thrown into upheaval as family secrets are revealed and a murderer must be found. Most importantly, however, the Line must be maintained. The Line is the magical safety net keeping demons from taking over the world and there are 13 Anchors who hold the Line, Mercy’s aunt having been one of them. Now, the Line must choose the next Anchor causing discord to arise between Mercy and her twin sister Maisey and the rest of the Taylor family. Unfortunately, the old line about the murderer being someone close to the victim winds up being true, both for Mercy’s aunt and for Mercy herself.
For a novel with zero sex, I found it to be a great romance/coming of age novel. Mercy tries to balance her emotions with her rational mind and it leads her in the right direction. I find this to be a refreshing take for a paranormal romance and it is a strong theme throughout the series. While Mercy’s emotions pull her one way and another, she stays true to what she knows to be right and faithful to those who have proven themselves as trustworthy and love-worthy. Although she is betrayed, she knows that her trust was not misplaced. I enjoyed the Lies Tour and although Mercy sounds young and naive, I found her totally likeable and was rooting for her all the way.
2. The Source (4)
Mercy Taylor must move forward after the heartbreaking betrayal of not just one of her family members, but two. When Mercy’s mother shows up, Mercy questions everything she knows about herself, her family, and the Line. Engaged, Mercy has a lot of responsibilities to her changing family and her new powers. Yet, Mercy has not forgotten the lessons from the past few months and they guide her in facing the unkown of a future in which she has very few allies.
I don’t think there is anything surprising in this next installment of the series. While Mercy’s mom popping up might be seen as a surprise, I don’t think it’s really unexpected that we encounter more lies, backstabbing, and evil. Despite this, I found the novel totally enjoyable. Mercy proves herself to be a worthwhile heroine (I think of Fanny Price in Mansfield Park) and the drive in the novel remains, for me at least, how this underdog who continues to do the right thing can triumph in a world where deceit seems to run rampant. Horn does a great job of writing characters with deep flaws, but who are redeemable and indeed, seem to be redeemed/forgiven. It isn’t just Mercy who comes of age, but the whole family transforms itself as it is faced with challenge after challenge.
3. The Void (3.5)
I was looking forward to the end of the series, not because I was tired of it, but because I knew there were quite a few loose ends to tie up for Horn. In this novel, Mercy and her family try to help solve a gruesome murder in which body parts are scattered throughout the city. Without giving away too much (the plot summary reveals a lot about how the previous books end), Mercy faces great loss while also realizing the incredible power within her. She faces multiple situations that call her morals into question and again and again she shows true strength of character.
While I enjoyed the novel, the end was unsatisfactory for me. I kept thinking that this chapter would be the last chapter, five chapters before the end of the book, and it never was–when I finally get the end I wished it kept going. It was a very weird feeling to have when I could have had a lot of closure earlier in the novel and yet the author denied it to me by continuing the story. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before! I have a feeling other people who read this book don’t feel that way because the author leaves enough clues that I have a pretty good idea of what will happen. And while the closing scene is beautiful, I still feel unsettled. And it is a FEELING, so I don’t think I have to justify it. But that’s why this particular novel gets a 3. My other complaints would spoil the novel, but I will say that my biggest has to do with Mercy’s moral compass. It’s very strong throughout all of the novels and yet the author doesn’t seem to connect Mercy’s humanity with the Line’s plan, especially at the end. And ultimately, it all comes down to the end. So I won’t give it away, but I will say it again, I am uneasy with the ending.