Halfway Dead by Terry Maggert
New series alert by old author!! I mean… not old… like age-wise… I mean old like he’s been featured on this blog before. Oh, geez. I’m in trouble now, aren’t I? Anyway, moving on… You like waffles? You like witches? You like white hat witches? You like nasty scary monsters dripping with gross goo from a filmy, oily pond where souls may or may not spend eternity? Have I got a book for you!
Publisher’s Description: Come for the waffles. Stay for the magic.
Carlie McEwan loves many things.
She loves being a witch. She loves her town of Halfway, NY—a tourist destination nestled on the shores of an Adirondack lake. Carlie loves her enormous familiar, Gus, who is twenty-five pounds of judgmental Maine Coon cat, and she positively worships her Grandmother, a witch of incredible power and wisdom. Carlie spends her days cooking at the finest—and only—real diner in town, and her life is a balance between magic and the mundane, just as she likes it.
When a blonde stranger sits at the diner counter and calls her by name, that balance is gone. Major Pickford asks Carlie to lead him into the deepest shadows of the forest to find a mythical circle of chestnut trees, thought lost to forever to mankind. There are ghosts in the forest, and one of them cries out to Carlie across the years–Come find me.
Like the forest shadows, danger can run deep. The threat is real, but Carlie’s magic is born of a pure spirit. With the help of Gus, and Gran, and a rugged cop who really does want to save the world, she’ll fight to bring a ghost home, and deliver justice to a murderer who hides in the cool, mysterious green of a forest gone mad with magic.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!)
Terry does it again. This new series is somewhat similar to The Fearless Series, only by killing evil, yucky monsters. The character is a very likable young witch with incredible power. She does good as often as she can and even goes as far as granting wishes.
Some idiot glory hound exposes, albeit unknowingly, rare trees that create all sort of a fuss. One thing leads to another and she finds out that an ancestor, a young boy, is trapped – well, his spirit is trapped and she takes it upon herself to save him. She meets characters along the way, exposes creatures that should not be left roaming wild and ends up saving the day, with a little help from her friends. Okay, a lot of help from her friends.
That is an incredibly succinct description of the story lacking in a lot of details of the twists and turns that her journey must take.
Invested Ivana says…
What drew me to this book: I’ve been wanting to start this series by Terry Maggert for a while now. Nell beat me to finding it, and now I have to catch up. The cover and the description sound interesting!
Why I kept reading: I listened to this book in audio, and the narrator, Erin Spencer, really impressed me. She gives the main character, Carlie, a positive and content feel, which I believe is how she is meant to be portrayed. Carlie is happy in her little town, happy with her job, and happy with her life.
The combination of the narrator and the writing make the storytelling feel very lyrical, even in the midst of fighting nasty monsters. Carlie notices and comments on very small details—the moonlight shining through the window and onto her floor, for example—but these details make the world she inhabits vivid and beautiful while giving us a sense of her inner peace.
The book does fall prey to some of my pet peeves that often plague the first books in series. For example, I think the final battle ends too fast and too easily considering all the build-up to it. Also, the “big bad” is somewhat two-dimensional; the reader doesn’t know much about him other than he’s petty and evil. There is a surprise reveal at the end that, upon reflection, I don’t think was foreshadowed at all. That is a little disappointing. However, I have only listened to this book; I haven’t read it yet, and I find I pick up different aspects of a story depending on how I “consume” it. Perhaps those details are there, and I just missed them.
In any case, these pet peeves didn’t interfere much with my enjoyment of this book. I have a feeling that as the story gets deeper and the conflict gets more personal to Carlie, they won’t be an issue anymore. Plus, the author manages to set up a situation in which he can use the Viking word “jarl.” Correctly. God, I love it when history teachers write. 😉
Why I recommend it: Halfway Dead is a positive story about a gal who loves her life and tries to do good, positive things whenever she can. The “voice” of the story is lovely and a pleasure to hear in audio. If you want a break from the gritty urban fantasies about reluctant heroes with too many vices and would prefer a positive story where the people are good and only the monsters are evil, you can’t do much better than Halfway Dead.
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