Monday, August 22, 2011

Book Review: Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

SUMMARY: Braden was born with witch eyes: the ability to see the world as it truly is: a blinding explosion of memories, darkness, and magic. The power enables Braden to see through spells and lies, but at the cost of horrible pain.

After a terrifying vision reveals imminent danger for the uncle who raised and instructed him, Braden retreats to Belle Dam, an old city divided by two feuding witch dynasties. As rival family heads Catherine Lansing and Jason Thorpe desperately try to use Braden's powers to unlock Belle Dam's secrets, Braden vows never to become their sacrificial pawn. But everything changes when Braden learns that Jason is his father--and Trey, the enigmatic guy he's falling for, is Catherine's son.

To stop an insidious dark magic from consuming the town, Braden must master his gift—and risk losing the one he loves.


The Short Version:
Intriguing, creative, and enjoyable, Witch Eyes throws a curve ball into the witch stories out there. Braden is an incredibly relatable character and easy to like, from his sarcastic wit to perceptive intelligence. With beautifully done descriptions and unique story elements, and though not always completely fluid, Witch Eyes is a solid debut with big promise for future work from Tracey.

The Extended Version:
Braden's voice, mentality, and character jump off the pages from the start, cocky in a gentle way and sarcastic and filled with witty quips. Though separated from people for the most part at the opening of the book, his relationship with his uncle builds him in a way that readers will relate to and enjoy. Thrust into a completely different world once he leaves, Braden still keeps his wits about him and isn't too easy to simply trust everyone person that comes along. Suffering from the curse of the witch eyes and the sometimes horrible side effects, his internal strength is tested and expanded in a way that shines for readers.

With a rather large cast of side characters, but each one unique, vivid and memorable, the chances for betrayal and misleading are high, and Tracey includes such nefarious aspects completely fluidly and easily. From perky and shockingly lively Riley to intriguing, tempting Trey, and with a range of other great characters in between, this one has a stellar cast that make the story shine and is one of the most notable aspects of the book. Slipping in and out of the story easily, each new character progresses things in their own way, and watching Braden interact with each one gave a very real, relatable note to the book.

The plot has an overall steady pace, and though some of the transitions between things weren't completely smooth, the main concept is fantastic. A building mystery that unfolds at a good rate, and numerous twists and turns will keep readers on their toes, with the pages turning quickly. The worldbuilding was interesting in this one, with Braden finding himself in a town that knows, at least in part, about the existence of witches. Completely different from what he is used to, this created a dissonance between the reader and Braden that added slightly to the confusion at some transitions, yet also built Braden's character with his ability to handle so many different situations.

The supernatural aspect of this book, which pulls in more than simply Braden being a witch, stays the focus of things even when the romance angle is brought in. Never taking an obsession over his feelings for Trey, nor hitting on any kind of gay angst or coming out elements, Braden's sexuality is as woven into his character as the witch eyes and everything else about him. Though it's clear he does like Trey, he doesn't drop everything for the boy even when Trey returns the feelings, adding a very refreshing and great element to the book. The ways the romance adds to the overall plot and plays its own role within will pull the reader in even more.

Tracey's writing is fantastic, having some stand out descriptions particularly where the use of magic is involved. Adding in emotion at all the right times, but still keeping things witty and sarcastic in general, Tracey has definitely shown his raw talent with huge promise for an amazing second installment. Strong in voice and easily weaving in Braden's stream of consciousness with everything else, Witch Eyes will pull readers in from the start.

Tying up the main events of this book while certainly leaving hints for the next installment, Witch Eyes is a promising debut. With a fantastic and well developed cast of characters, centering on a very easy to like protagonist, and bold and descriptive writing, there is plenty to love and enjoy about this book. Full of sarcasm and wit yet also not shying away from the rougher things, and pulling in some great new elements, this one is definitely a must read for fans of the supernatural.

Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: September 8, 2011


  1. I usually shy away from such an extended cast since along the way some of the good characters get dropped and forgotten. But the way you described it the writer did a good job of making a wonderful story.

    Great review.

  2. A cast of vibrant characters as well as an excellent main character? This sounds awesome. Thanks for the review, Kari!