When Shayde Gamic reaches her sixteenth birthday a family secret is revealed to her that both explains and complicates her life. Things that have seemed strange all her life begin to make sense and she embraces this new knowledge whole-heartedly. Her only regret being that this knowledge may threaten her burgeoning relationship with seventeen-year-old Kruise Wright.
As their relationship develops, Shayde struggles to decide how to reveal her true nature, unaware that the effect of this revelation will be more momentous and potentially devastating than she ever imagined. Can she uphold the destiny bestowed on her by her ancestors, or will her love for Kruise ultimately destroy her?
I received A Witch’s Aura from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I really, really want to stress this: I liked the basic story. There was a ton of setup with A LOT of detail at the beginning of the book. In some ways this seemed like two books in one that just happened to share the same characters. It’s almost like the book couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a contemporary coming-of-age story or a paranormal/witch story. There was the part about Shadye, Kruise, and his group of friends going to Cape Cod for a weekend and there was the part about Shayde discovering her family’s history and what that meant for her. They weren’t blended together as well as they could have been, and I think the book suffered for that. The end of the book really fell flat for me, and by the last of it, I was really only skimming it.
Shayde’s parents were not exactly absent, as so many YA parents are. They were just extremely permissive. I suppose there are parents out there like this, but it’s hard for me to relate to. Shayde’s parents allowed her — having just turned 16, remember — to go away with Alize, Kruise, and his friends for a weekend. Out of the entire group, they had only ever met Alizé. In fact, Shayde didn’t even know any of them other than Alizé and Kruise, and she really just met Kruise a few days earlier. Despite that, the Cape Cod trip, which took up a good portion of the book, was my favorite part. It was just a group of friend hanging out and playing a lot of beer pong, and Shayde and Kruise getting to know each other better.
I did have difficulty with Shadye and Kruise’s relationship though. Although I liked both characters and I liked them together and was rooting for them, the purple prose and odd phrasing really detracted from their romance.
“We were just walking and talking and then he stopped and looked at me with his beautiful, hungry eyes.
Her irises were deep chartreuse, rimmed with the color of a tropical sea, mimicking the bays that were only found in the islands.
Being no stranger to the wet and wild tango, he knew he wanted his first time with her to be different; he didn’t want it to be tacky.
Wet and wild tango. I…really?
And I just don’t buy that a sixteen year old boy would think of the girl he likes as a “beautiful creature.”
Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, there’s a TON of detail and most of it seemed irrelevant. Some of it may become relevant in later books if this turns into a series, but a lot of it just felt like like an information dump.
Alizé Ryan was the same age as Shayde, having just turned sixteen on the fifth of June, Shayde’s birthday being on the ninth. She was a little taller than Shayde was and had medium length, dark brown hair that she straightened daily and big blue eyes. Her body was curvaceous and she embraced her curves and carried them with a sexy elegance. Alizé was very blunt and didn’t mind telling anyone what she thought of them, especially if they wronged her or someone she loved.
I’m pretty sure Alizé is a huge bitch, too. I hated her from the beginning of the story when she (in her own words) gave a restaurant hostess hell for refusing to seat her until the rest of her party arrived. I don’t know what that was about, but really, do you REALLY want to behave that way when you’re going to be ordering food from the establishment in just a few minutes? She was the hostess, not the server or kitchen staff, but I’m fairly certain she KNOWS them, you know? Maybe I’m just sensitive because I work in the restaurant industry, but after that, I pegged Alizé as a bitch — and a stupid one — right off. She was basically dead to me from that moment. Fortunately, she wasn’t the main character or I would have ditched the book right there at 4% into it.
On a technical note, the biggest problem I noticed were comma splices run amuk. Oh my God, you guys, there were SO MANY COMMA SPLICES in this book, especially in the first half. I didn’t notice them as much in the middle section, but they definitely returned for the epilogue. It’s unfortunate that the editing process failed the author this way, because along with a more cohesive story, better writing could have bumped this book up into a solid three and a half stars.