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Monday, January 31, 2011

Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings

Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings
Publisher: Penguin / NAL
Genre: YA Fantasy
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rated: 5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

In the ten years since magic has reemerged in the world, witches have become feared and hunted. For weeks Shea Jameson has been haunted by visions of fire. When she unintentionally performs a spell in public, she becomes one of the hunted. Her only hope is Torin, a dangerously sensual man who claims to be her eternal mate.

It’s a modern day witch hunt in The Awakening: Visions of Magic, Regan Hasting’s compelling new novel. Magic – unwelcome, feared magic – has returned to the world. Even those people with the best of intentions can be accused… and that alone is enough to change their lives forever.

None knows the danger better than young school teacher Shea Jameson. Yet, she can’t ignore the plight of a student, because just being brushed by the mere existence of magic is enough for others to see you as tainted. Even as Shea thinks ‘don’t trust anyone,’ even as she reminds herself about the possibility of spies, she chances helping another.

The fast start gives way to increasingly fast action. Torin crashes into her life, hero rescuer? Or someone using her for his own ends? In a time when distrust is second nature, Shea so wants to trust. But what, exactly, is Torin?

Torin could be anything – true love, soul mate…or utterly evil. We readers don’t know if we should expect romance – or battle. We don’t even know if Torin is truly human. They are undeniably connected – physically in the here and now by their tattoos -- but also, historically, by a past that claims them forever.

Shea struggles with the abrupt change in her life -– and in the fractured society that defines what was, not so long ago, an ordinary community in a comprehensible world. All that changed with ‘The Awakening.’

The hint of the past (my mind goes right to the Legendary Salem Witch Trials) infuses this work with a sinister undertone, right from the start. It’s all very contemporary and ‘today,’ but that connection to past events give the story an unusual, haunting depth.

As we become attached to Shea, our dread grows. Her fear increases, and we can sense something more, always more, coming. Spine-tingling action and a completely original, fast-paced storyline characterize this work from beginning to end. Regan’s writing style creates an intensely believable atmosphere. Her characters are what bring this all to life. Thought, action, emotion, all twine believably and build in reader sympathy throughout.

Although the urban/paranormal is currently ever-increasing in popularity, Hasting’s Visions of Magic is a fantastically magical standout. You won’t need to be a fan of the genre to enjoy Visions of Magic. An Absolutely Must Read.