The first in a new mystical, magical series featuring three generations of powerful headstrong witches from the Madigan Family and their struggle to work together to keep a centuries-old promise and stop a dark witch from claiming a powerful elemental object.
Bridget, a member of the Madigan family, is a young detective working in Boston on a new murder case involving a witch. Even though she has sworn never to use magic again, she uses her powers to watch a flashback from the murder. Horrified to recognize her grandmother the family matriarch, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Not ready to implicate her Granny as the murderer, she heads back to the place she thought she would never return to, New orleans, and confront her family.
This sets off an unstoppable magical rollercoaster and unearths some long-kept family secrets. Their family bond is tested to the limit. Will they be strong enough to keep that centuries-old promise and protect the elemental power objects from a dark witch?
The Dagger’s elemental spellcasting is engaging and inventive, but the novel’s elaborate story of dark secrets and powerful magics often becomes repetitive, especially in its scenes of distrustful sniping among the Madigan sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles. With their sarcasm and long-held grudge, these eclectic but minimally developed family members bog down the narrative and also the pleasure of getting acquainted with Lexmond’s promising history of American witchcraft. Tara’s tight lips about ancient secrets ensure that crucial information dribbles out slowly. Also disrupting the pacing: the various Madigan brood who traverse the country with stopovers in Utah and the land of Fairy.
The editing is poor, with frequent repetition and grammatical errors. Still, fans of fantasy and urban paranormal fare will enjoy the magical displays, the prominent women characters, and the satisfying final (for now!) battle between good and evil.
Takeaway: In this story of American witchcraft, enchanting magical spells and strong female protagonists somewhat alleviate a meandering plot.
Great for fans of: Lydia Sherrer’s Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus, Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-