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4.4 out of 5 stars80
4.4 out of 5 stars
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I have a special fondness for movies and books set in the old cities of the Deep South -- Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston, and so on.

And "The Line" pretty much plays into that -- Spanish moss, stately mansions, folk magic and antebellum scenic tours. And witches. Did I mention there are witches? The first novel in J.D. Horn's Witching Savannah series is a solid charmer -- a heroine with a dry wit, a beautiful setting, and a solid urban-fantasy storyline.

Mercy Taylor has no magic, but she's immersed in it -- she's a rare "dud" in a family of witches, and she knows all about the magical underbelly of Savannah. Heck, she mentions it on her paid tours of the city. But even without magic, she's subject to the rule of the Taylor family matriarch, Ginny...

... until she finds Ginny murdered. Even with their magic, the family is stymied, though Mercy deduces that the powerful hoodoo Mother Jilo is somehow involved.

Soon Mercy finds herself in the middle of all this magic weirdness -- especially when she is chosen as the new anchor of the family magic, even though her powerful twin Maisie was considered a shoo-in. But as the Taylors come under more supernatural attacks, Mercy must delve into the uglier side of her family's history, and unravel the secrets that are undermining them...

J.D. Horn comes up with a pretty intriguing fantasy premise -- the idea is that magic was shifted into the Line long ago to drive out demons, by thirteen witch families. And in so doing, most of the world's magic (and magic creatures) was lost. It's certainly a smarter approach than the typical they've-always-been-around-and-nobody-noticed setup that most urban fantasies rely on.

But despite that, there is plenty of magic wafting through the spiced Savannah air -- golems with multiple personalities, shadow-creatures, a real "imaginary friend," and other such things. Horn brings it to life with strong prose, rich and vibrant with the "liquid fire" of magic. There are a few awkward passages that you'd expect of a newbie author, but overall it's a fun experience.

It's also a pretty solid mystery, with some pretty spectacular twists. There's a prophecy about the witch families, the secret of Maisie and Mercy's parentage, and lots of old ugly skeletons in the Taylor closet.

Mercy herself is a pretty top-notch heroine -- she has a powerful personality to compensate for her lack of magic, along with a bountiful amount of love for her flawed family. Horn doesn't shy away from showing her at her more vulnerable moments, and it makes her even more endearing. The odd love square between her, Maisie, Peter and Jackson seems kind of hackneyed at first, but Mercy's determination to do the right thing is refreshing.

"The Line" is a thoroughly entertaining start to a rich, twisty urban fantasy series -- and it leaves me anticipating what other witchery is afoot in Savannah.
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on 8 February 2014
A younger audience might appreciate this book more than a more mature one. This book would appeal to the 15 to 25 year old range while leaving most of the more mature readers a little cold or out in left field. The author has done a good job trying to reconcile the fact that his main protagonist is a very immature 21 year old, but her (Mercy Taylor, witch) attitudes and naiveté grated on my nerves. I am sure that in upcoming books in this series will show Mercys growth. This book reminded me very much of Charlaine Harris's early books about Sookie Stackhouse, before Sookie had a chance to grow. There is actually more wrong; things that bothered me about this book, than I described in this review.

Mercy is one of a pair of twins - one has gotten all the magic and Mercy is left without any. Or, so it seems on the surface. This book is filled with murder, backstabbing, lies upon lies and yes magic! We start out with a book that seems as if it is going to be a romance novel about a love triangle between one boy and the two sisters, but soon a murder is thrown into the equation and whole lot of other magical maneuverings, black-magic, more deaths, more violence and a whole lot of betrayal.

If the author can get Mercy and her kin over the hump, then this will most likely turn into a lively and likable series.
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on 11 February 2014
But very hurried, no real pacing to allow a connection with ANY of the characters or their relationships. I'm not waiting with baited breath for the next. I'd rather re-read 'A Discovery of Witches' 10 times over.
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2014
Mercy is the youngest member of an infamous Savvanah family of witches; but she’s the only one lacking in magical powers. When her Aunt is found murdered she becomes involved in solving the mystery of her death with help from her various Aunts and Uncles, a childhood imaginary friend, a local worker of dark magic and the local police.

This is a very enjoyable read, likely to appeal to those who enjoy the Charlaine Harris ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ series of novels as it’s very similar in tone. I enjoyed the book, and was particularly taken by the range of characters, the subtle humour and several very convincing red herrings!

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
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on 19 February 2014
From the moment I started reading a sample of this book it had me captivated, I had to download the rest. I'm so sad I have finished it and can't wait for the next book.
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on 7 July 2014
There is no depth to this book. The story has loads of potential and the characters are almost fully formed but never quite get there. They remain flat and stereotypical able to deal only with what's going on at the time and nothing more complex. When I read that the author had once been a financial analyst it made sense as this really does seem like a novel by numbers. At one point I felt sure this had actually been written by a computer program. it jerks along from one bit of the story to the next. Towards the end it became quite comical how the main character behaved. She's about to have her 21st birthday but spends most of the book acting like a 16 year old. I'm still not sure if this was meant to be a teen novel or for grown ups. I wouldn't bother with it if you're reading this. It's not awful (so it has a generous 3 stars)- I finished it and the plot was ok - but there are far better, more well written books out there.
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on 23 November 2015
I bought the three books in this series together, and was quite pleased with this first book, in fact I began the second book immediately after finishing the first book. It was an interesting book and I cant wait to read the following two books. Its not what you would call a can't put down book
because you have to really digest the story and the characters. If you like magic give it a try
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on 22 February 2014
This is the first book of this type by J.D.Horn, I have read.. The author seems to be able to paint pictures with words and although it is a fantasy book, all in all I quite enjoyed it. The charcters in the book are brought to life and without you realizing, you have taken the written description and are really watching the book while reading it.
Oh tro be a fantasy witch!
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on 7 December 2015
I completely enjoyed this book as it has all emotional climaxes in it. The twists in every chapter, the thrall it has towards the reader (me) was so annoyingly continuous and I just couldn't put it down. It wasn't at all predicable and mad me oooo and ahhhh in many various parts. Would definitely suggest to young readers or fiction lovers. Onwards to the second book.
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on 6 December 2015
Okay I only read this became it popped up an amazon kindle as a social price. I really enjoyed it however. Possibly because I couldn't second guess what was happening. That's a rare thing for me. I read it really fast. Another sign I loved it. Its not about witches as I think of them normally. Its really creative. Looking forward to reading the next book!
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