Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis
Series: Horngate Witches #2
Published by Pocket
Published on: December 28th 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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On a road trip into the unknown, Max and Alexander face wild magic, desperate enemies, and battles that bruise both body and soul. But the greatest challenge will come from unexpected revelations that test everything Max believes about who she is—and where her loyalties lie. . .
Crimson Wind takes its sophomore slump with dignity. It just isn’t as geometrically pure as its predecessor. Whereas we may consider the first an elegant triangle, Max and Alexander’s viewpoints coming to a head, here the shape that is suggested to us is more hexagonal.
Alexander and Max begin to split, even as their mission brings them back to back [like a TV show marathon or, more appropriately, a shoot-out in which the two desperadoes are surrounded]. The overall suggestion, of course, is that a greater unity is being put off for the sake of future books. The author is beginning to realize she has made a beast and plans to act accordingly.
Let’s talk about some of the complexities of this world, specifically those picked up solely from the last book. Witches are powerful conductors of magic. Magic is not intrinsic to this world but comes from a place beyond worlds.
In this present day America, magic is not in high supply. The Guardians, those that proctor the magic flow between worlds, are not happy, so they have decided to wipe out much of humanity, commandeer the witch covens, and flood the world we live in with magic.
Giselle, a significant witch, retains a coven named Horngate where Max, Alexander, and co. work as her magical bodyguards. Sprinkle in a lot of prophecy and bullheadedness and Max and Alexander are soon on a grand mission, fraught with danger.
But, for all the promise of danger, the Guardians haven’t wiped everything out yet. The cries of the coming apocalypse are still being called and Max continues to operate as Noah, offering many people solace at her Ark, Horngate. The part you might like about Max, though, is that which makes her a far cry from the Noah we all know and love.
She may be sending everyone to this Ark but it is a home she loves to hate. In this way little has changed in the characterization of Max. She lays down her life for a cause she would much rather be fighting against. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.
Alexander, on the other hand, would like to become a part of Max’s family but everyone distrusts him. And yet, even being so little trusted, he is assigned tasks of great import, those with both his and Max’s lives on the line.
If by some strong desensitization you are not digging these characterizations, let’s move on to the descriptions, set-pieces, and immense varieties of magic and rules. No dollar was left unspent when it came to special effects. We got goblins, ice queens, angels, platinum angels, fire angels, shadow witches, invisibility amulets, immense sensitivity to sunlight, and moon burns. If none of that strikes your fancy, you must be a reanimated corpse.
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