Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: The Witches of Echo Park by Amber Benson

The Witches of Echo Park
AuthorAmber Benson
Series:  Witches of Echo Park 1
Publisher:  Ace, January 6, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 304 pages
List Price:  $15.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425268674 (print)
Review Copy:  Reviewer's Own

From beloved author, director, and actress, Amber Benson...

Unbeknownst to most of humankind, a powerful network of witches thrives within the shadows of society, using their magic to keep the world in balance. But they are being eliminated—and we will all pay if their power falls…

When Elyse MacAllister’s great-aunt Eleanora, the woman who raised her, becomes deathly ill, Lyse puts her comfortable life in Georgia on hold to rush back to Los Angeles. And once she returns to Echo Park, Lyse discovers her great-aunt has been keeping secrets—extraordinary secrets—from her.

Not only is Lyse heir to Eleanora’s Victorian estate; she is also expected to take her great-aunt’s place in the Echo Park coven of witches. But to accept her destiny means to place herself in deadly peril—for the world of magic is under siege, and the battle the witches now fight may be their last…

Amber and Qwill's talk about The Witches of Echo Park and more in this video interview.

Brandon's Review

Elyse MacAllister is a woman with a green thumb struggling to keep her small business afloat when she receives a call about her ailing great aunt, who raised her. She rushes off in a fugue to answer the call of family in need. But thrust into this turmoil she is asked to accept the existence of witches and the need for witches to help keep the world balanced amidst a rise in dark forces and a sudden drought of Dreamers. Dreamers are the backbone of witch culture and have true dreams of the future and hope for the future lies in the Echo Park coven.

If you’ve read any of Amber Benson’s other series you’ll notice a similarity in flavors and subject matters. There are a host of strong female characters to choose from in terms of having someone to identify with, but different here is the almost exclusive focus on women and both how women relate to each other as friends, lovers, and family and how that influences the world around them.
I think the character that caught and kept me reading was Hessika. A gruff seeming witch who was the coven’s last Dreamer. She continues to reach out into the future as a ghost to help keep the coven safe and on the path to preserving the world at large. There is something about the smoking and gruff Hessika that appeals to me.

The plot for the series, as explored through this novel, is nothing new to the genre. Witches must unite to battle rising darkness with inheritance and loss a driving force for some of the changes. If you enjoy lighter reads that don’t rely on flowcharts for character histories and family genealogies I think you’ll like this.

Something to really cherish about The Witches of Echo Park is the exploration of the way many different friends and personalities can co-exist to make their world better.  Benson is a solid author and I look forward to seeing what the series holds in store for the Witches of Echo Park.


The Last Dream Keeper
Witches of Echo Park 2
Ace, January 5, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook

In the second Witches of Echo Park novel, one coven must keep the world in balance and stand against a rising darkness.

Lyse MacAllister did not step into an easy role when she took over as master of the Echo Park coven of witches after her great-aunt Eleanora’s death. As she begins to forge the bonds that will help her lead her sisters, she struggles to come to terms with her growing powers. And she soon faces a deadly new threat. A group of fanatics intent on bringing about the end of times has invaded the witches Council—but the Council is turning a blind eye to the danger growing in its midst.

Only one witch is prophesied to be able to stop the encroaching darkness. And if Lyse and her blood sisters are to have any chance at protecting all we know from being lost forever, they must keep her safe—no matter what the cost…


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