Book Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Daughter of ChaosSynopsis:

There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.

About the Author: 6451403

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).

She is also a former reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and a proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.

A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Twitter @Jen_McConnel, and visit www.jenmcconnel.com to learn more

My Review:

Paranormal entities seem to come in and out of fashion. We had vampires, then zombies and now it seems that witches are ‘in’. I’m not really a believer in writing about what’s ‘in’ apart from the timing issues (it takes quite some months to write a book) it can dilute your characters and taint the author’s theme and premise. I’m unsure as to whether Daughter of Chaos was written in the successful wake of Beautiful Creatures, or was well underway before all the witchery kicked off – either way it’s a far superior book.

A world where magic is accepted is a much more interesting one to me than one where it’s hidden. This freedom allows the author to go places that the ‘secret’ constrictions fences off. The opening to this book really sets the tone of this, when a goddess appears in the character’s living room, disturbing her popcorn and TV session.

From a writer’s perspective. I must admit that it took me a while to feel for Darleana. From her random declaration to ‘red magic’ to her humourless and bland reactions to events. Maybe I’m too old for certain YA books, but I always feel that a really good YA should span the generations. Characters are tricky things for authors, you make them too crazy and readers get annoyed, you make them too soft and readers want to slap them. Darleana did seem to tread a fine line between these traditional YA facets, so I certainly didn’t hate her or want to shake her by the shoulders till her chewing gum drops out. But I wasn’t really invested in her either. I need to point out here, that this character apathy is purely down to me and my own tastes. I can still remember what it was like to be a teen, and back then I’d have probably wanted her as a BFF.

The front cover is beautiful and really stands out – so this book will certainly stand out when readers are scanning through blogs, e-shops and the like.

Overall I’d give Daughter of Chaos 4 out of 5 stars, a promising start to a YA series. If you hankering for some spellbinding prose, look no further.

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