Series: Daughters of the Dark Root #1
But for Maggie Maddock, Dark Root is also a prison, a place where she is forced to spend her days working in her mother’s Magick shop, forfeiting any dreams of her own. So when a mysterious stranger suddenly appears and offers to take her away from it all, Maggie jumps at the chance.
Now, seven years later, a strange phone call sends Maggie back to Dark Root and she is unprepared for what awaits her: a dying town, a sick mother, a renewed sibling rivalry, and a past she had hoped to forget.
Part Practical Magic, part Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Witches of Dark Root is a tale that seamlessly weaves the normal with the mystical, the mundane with the fantastic. Zipping in and out of time from Maggie’s childhood as an apprentice witch to current day, where Maggie struggles with her increasing powers as well as family obligations, The Witches of Dark Root is a book rich in both fantasy and heart.
- The romances. I have to admit that Aasheim lost me a bit when it came to the romances in this novel. I felt like one of Maggie’s love interests was really kind of villified and in the end I really put the book down feeling like he got the short shrift (I don’t want to give any details about what happened, so I can’t be more specific, but I could give lots of examples about why I thought this was so). Then, one of the other love interests conveniently (and rather suddenly) falls for Maggie’s sister. When the romance part of the plot is finally resolved (I think – kind of), it’s done in a pretty perfunctory manner – blink and you might miss it! I’m hoping that we’ll get to see all of these love interests more, and that at least two of the three men in her life get a little more chance to show who they really are in the next book in the series.
- The villains. I also felt like the “villains” could have been developed a bit more. The main villain (who I won’t name) wasn’t really developed enough in my opinion.
- The sisters. This is where the book really shined. I LOVED the relationship between the three sisters (well, four actually, although we don’t get to know the oldest sister as well). There was sibling rivalry, adoration, co-dependence, protectiveness, jealousy, love – all sorts of sisterly feelings were thrown into the mix. These were complicated relationships, and it made for great reading!
- The magic. In a book about witches, there has to be some awesome magic thrown in, right? Well, Dark Root doesn’t disappoint. There were some really fun scenes where Maggie had to finally embrace the power that she had been denying for so long. I look forward to even more fun magical scenes in the next book in the series!
- June Bug. I won’t even say who she is because it would be kind of a spoiler, but I will say that sweet, adorable little June Bug had my heart just as much as she had Maggie’s.
- The twist. The book ends with a twist that I actually had guessed at briefly earlier in the book, but had put it aside and forgotten about it by the time it actually happened. This twist has some interesting potential ramifications, and I look forward to seeing what happens next!
- The cover. When I saw that Aasheim created the cover herself, I thought, “Well, if her writing is anyone near as good as her artwork, I’ll love it!” (My one pet peeve after reading the book though – Maggie has red hair, so I’m not sure who the witch on the cover is supposed to be. Since it was the author herself who created this picture, she must have had a vision for it, but I don’t get that part!)
- Every song choice was from the 1970’s. I chose this time period because it was the hey day of Maggie’s mother, Sasha Shantay and her coven-cavorting friends. Sasha claimed that “one can never stay down long when there’s music in the house,” and every family crisis was overcome with a bit of Santana or The Eagles.
- There are exactly 30 song titles in the first book of the series.
- The titles are well-known songs in the beginning, chosen to help the reader recognize the theme, but as the book continues some of the titles become a bit more obscure.
- All future books in the series will also have chapters named after songs.
- The next book, The Magick of Dark Root, will continue to feature songs from the 1970’s. Books in the series thereafter may choose songs from different eras, especially as we learn more about Sasha Shantay in the days of her youth.
- Song titles were chosen based on three things:
- How well it matched the theme of the chapter,
- How well it matched the tempo of the chapter,
- How well the lyrics seemed to fit the chapter.
- Sasha Shantay’s musical tastes were modeled after those of my own mother who filled our homes sounds of Fleetwood Mac and Rod Stewart.
- I love 70’s music myself. Many of the songs from that era had complete stories which suited my writer’s need for a beginning, middle, and an end. I didn’t really appreciate it when I was a kid, but as I grew up I began to see how rich and timeless these songs really were.
- My husband and I had a lot of fun researching the songs for the book. While writing a book about witches it struck me what a fun and magical coincidence it was that whenever we were stuck on a particular chapter the radio would seem to play the perfect song.
- Maggie’s character was named after the Rod Stewart song: Maggie May.