Review: The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson (Witches of Echo Park #1)


The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson // VBC ReviewThe Witches of Echo Park (The Witches of Echo Park #1)
Amber Benson
Published: Jan. 7, 2015 (Ace)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Lyse lost her parents at thirteen and went to live with her great aunt Eleanora. She grew up never knowing that Eleanora was a witch, much less that she was the leader of the Echo Park coven or that Lyse was destined to succeed her and lead the coven through trying times. When Eleanora calls to say that she’s dying of cancer, Lyse puts her life in Georgia on hold to rush to her side.

But as Eleanora begins to reveal her secrets, trying to draw Lyse into the magical world, Lyse is convinced that her aunt and all of her friends are delusional. She agrees to humor them and gets initiated into the coven, but she still doesn’t really believe in magic. She does seem to believe in the other women and care about what happens to them, which is what keeps her around. It was also what kept me turning the pages when I was convinced that nothing was going to happen in this book other than Eleanora passing the leadership torch.

The story is told from the points of view of all six witches, partly through visions and flashbacks. Pieces of Eleanora’s history come to light a little at a time, as does information about The Flood, the mysterious danger mentioned in more than one of the witches’ visions, and what’s happening with the Council and other witches outside the coven. It’s not clear how urgent the situation is until the very end of the book when all the pieces start to come together and the action really picks up.

The magic in The Witches of Echo Park is nothing flashy. The coven members’ gifts include empathy, clairvoyance and potion making. There’s also dream walking, which is a rare and very important gift, but hasn’t been fully explained yet. It’s not really clear to me how any of those things could be used to fight an enemy, so I’m wondering if the ladies have any more tricks up their sleeves.

I was kind of expecting The Witches of Echo Park to remind me of Charmedmaybe Amber Benson just got me in a WB frame of mindbut its not at all campy. Its not even particularly lighthearted. But the womens stories are fascinating. The ending is intense and exciting. It narrowly avoided what I would consider a cliffhanger, which made for an abrupt and not completely satisfying resolution to one particular plot point.

But The Witches of Echo Park is obviously only the beginning of the story. Several threads are still left hanging. It took me a little while to feel invested in these women’s lives, but by the end I was hooked. I’ll definitely be checking out the next book in the series.

Sexual content: sex

3 Responses to “Review: The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson (Witches of Echo Park #1)”

  1. I loved Amber Benson on Buffy and I’ve been tempted to try her out as an author.

  2. Margaret says:

    I’ve also read the first three (I think) books in her Calliope Reaper-Jones series. It’s an intersting take on reapers where a Death is a corporation and she becomes CEO. I keep meaning to read the rest of the series.

  3. Paul Dourlet says:

    I have read a couple of Amber’s Reaper-Jones book -the first 2. She has a great sense of humor.Plus-in all modesty i have a huge vocabulary- any book I read that sends me to a dictionary to learn new words is a big….. plus.

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