David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn't a choice.
Eleven years ago, David's secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David's wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. The magic. It wasn't poorly written or even poorly researched. Everything seemed to be pretty sound. The problem I had was that it's overdone and I really wish it had been a bit more original. It takes up such a huge part of the story and there are just so many things that could have been done with it, that I felt like it was just tossed in there instead of being the true meat of the story it could have been.
Actually, this was a pretty fascinating 'what if' story. What if you had an affair and children and then they disappeared and suddenly reappeared years later? What if you didn't have the courage to tell your wife, but you still needed to be there for your children? Not just from Dave's perspective, but from the entire family's, not to mention the poor children. Not only did Bayliss run the gamut of possibilities, but she did so while exposing some pretty serious character studies.
The most fascinating part for me was just how much I despised one of the main characters. We have bad people and good people and bad people who think they're good and good people who think they're bad. Those that we know are 'bad', honestly, they sort of faded into the background for me. It sucked that they weren't nice people, but they didn't really have any impact on me. Dave, the main character, means well, but he's such a coward that I found myself having a hard time really caring about him either. His wife, however. Wow! My jaw dropped several times at her. I hate her with a fierce intensity that I worried would set my Kindle aflame. She is so evil and horrible that I found myself ashamed to be a woman.
This is the first book in a series and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. I feel like this one did a great job of putting the 'family' into perspective for future adventures/mysteries.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Shawn