*Declaration of Interest – I am personal friends with the authors in question and beta read their drafts before publication (no money involved). I received a free copy of this book. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Siren Stories presents Emerald Wren and the Coven of Seven.
As a child Emerald Wren’s grandfather gives her a magical lamp and a promise that she will one day change the world. As an adult she is a hard working waitress by day and leader of a crime fighting coven of witches by night. And when she gets news of a man working his way across the country leaving murdered women burned to death in his wake, Emerald and her friends must take on the biggest challenge of their lives, with the most devastating of consequences looming over them.
J.J. Barnes has a great knack for writing strong, natural character relationships and realistic, bantery dialogue, which make her novels instantly engaging and forge an emotional connection with the reader, which makes the characters’ peril heart-stopping, and their sorrow heartbreaking. It can also make for some very warm and witty moments to lighten the mood and avoid bogging the reader down in the drama.
Emerald Wren is no exception. The characters are brought to life, with all of their unique quirks and human flaws, but also with awesome comic-book powers and the desire to fight evil and right wrongs. There is plenty of action, and the ‘baddie’ segments are dark and violent, so this is not for the faint of heart! I have a special shudder set aside for the trip to the woods with poor little Tiddles…
This author also writes the Lilly Prospero series of young adult books, and there are many similarities in terms of the strong female protagonist, magic powers, the Commission and Guardians. This is only to be expected as the books are set in the same Augmented Universe as are most Siren Stories novels. However in Emerald the tone and themes are more adult and developed, whilst retaining the easily readable style that keeps you turning pages (when you should really be sleeping/eating/parenting *blushes*).
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy Young Adult fantasy adventures but looking for something a little more adult in terms of language (swears) and content. There a bit of a cliffhanger at the ending, that has me desperate for the next in the series, so I’ll let you know when it’s coming up. The good news is that Emerald launches today, so you can get it for yourself and let me know what you think!
“Good morning, Guinevere,” said Emerald, nodding to the large tabby cat sitting on the coffee table. The cat watched her through narrowed eyes, her tail flicking. “What?”
“Something happened,” replied the cat. “You’re not telling me something.”
“I’m not telling you many things,” replied Emerald, taking the coffee pot out of the machine and pouring the contents gratefully into a Bugs Bunny mug. “Such as that I’m considering getting a dog. A large one. Or one of those small yappy ones. A Chihuahua maybe. Or a Great Dane.”
“Emerald Wren,” Guinevere started to say, but she was interrupted.
“We’re getting a dog?” asked Maram, appearing in the little kitchenette, her thick dark hair swept up elegantly on top of her head with a clip in a way Emerald knew she’d never be able to accomplish even if she had enough hair to do it with. “Awesome. That’ll put the kibosh up old fuzzy butt here.”
[ . . . ]
“I never had to put up with this nonsense before you two,” said the cat crossly. “My last charge is quite the respected educator now thanks to me. Teaches potion making to young witches, and I bet none of them give him the attitude you two show either!”
– J.J. Barnes, Emerald Wren and the Coven of Seven
For my short reviews of her previous novels, please check out my Siren Stories post.
You can find Emerald Wren and the Coven of Seven on Amazon today!