No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013/09: Witch Eyes -- Scott Tracey

Most kids took Math, English, American History. Mine was more Demons 101, AP Magical Defense, and Advanced Sorcery for Slackers. [location 87]
Braden was born with the ability to see through illusion and lies to the truth. At seventeen, he's naive and inexperienced: home-schooled by the uncle who raised him, he is totally unprepared for modern American high school culture. Fleeing a vision that warns of terrible danger for his uncle, he winds up alone in Belle Dam, a small town which is ruled by two rival families. The Lansings and the Thorpes -- "two of the most powerful magical dynasties to cross over into the New World" [loc 1222] -- are both keen to get their hands on Braden and his untapped power, hoping that he'll prove the key to unlocking Belle Dam's secrets.

His loyalties, it turns out, are already divided. He's attracted to a (male) member of one family; he's related to a member of the other. (Unlike the blurb, I won't reveal which is which.) Braden's going to have to choose a side, and his new friends -- possibly the first friends he's ever made -- can't make that choice for him.

Witch Eyes is a YA novel with a fairly straightforward (though not predictable) plot: what I liked about it was the characterisation. Braden's sense of being out of his depth in social matters, but expert in magical ones, is an interesting balancing act. Because the book's told from his point of view, it's easy to understand the ways in which his first impressions of people are tempered by subsequent events.

I especially liked that, though Braden is gay, it's not a big deal. He isn't a stereotype or a symbol: he's a teenager who can't afford to be distracted by his attraction to another boy, but would really like to have a chance at said distraction. Once he's mastered his own magical gifts and used them to solve the mystery at the heart of Belle Dam, anyway.

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