I was a huge fan of Cate Teirnan's Wicca/Sweep series and was among the many horrified when the publishers pulled the plug, so my joy at finding that she had returned with a new teen paranormal series was immense. I'm happy to say that Chalice of Wind the first in the Balefire series doesn't disappoint. Chalice of Wind is reminiscent of Wicca/Sweep in that once again the main protagonists are young girls who become embroiled in magic, but there are some crucial differences that prevent it being a clone of her first series. Clio and Thais are identical twins who were separated at birth (don't groan- it should be awful and clichéd but Tiernan makes it work and seem believable) Clio has always lived with her Nana in New Orleans and has studied the ways of Bonne Magie from childhood, whereas Thais lived in blissful ignorance with her father. When Thais' father is killed in an accident her world is rocked and she is sent away to live with spooky leather queen Alexis, a shadowy figure from her father's past. The fun begins when Thais starts school and comes face to face with her mirror image, and gradually discovers her past is not what she thinks. Like Sweep the chapters alternate between the two girls perspectives', which can be confusing at first, but as Thais and Clio discover the truths about their past and magic the story has you gripped. I was very glad I was able to order the second instalment at the same time as this because I was desperate to read more after the first was finished. Strong points for this were that Tiernan is exploring a very different world of magic from wicca as is slyly pointed out to Thais by Clio early on. Bonne Magie seems to be a much looser set of beliefs vaguely constructed around New Orleans, but no less powerful than the magic portrayed in Wicca. The main characters do take a while to warm up to, but this is a very promising start. My only complaint that stopped this from being five stars was the romance angle as Clio and Thais both meet dark good looking strangers, who they think are the One, but yes you've guessed it they have been dating the same guy. Subsequently, I wasn't impressed by the romance potential but I am intrigued by the hints of a dark magical legacy that will require both twins' powers to defeat.
This is book one of four in the new Balefire series by Cate Tiernan who wrote the Wicca/Sweep series about teenage witches aimed at teenagers. This series again focuses on teenagers and witchcraft, but is a very different tale from her previous series.
It alternates between identical twins Clio and Thais who are seperated at birth. Only Clio's nan knew the secret. When Thais' father dies in a car accident, stranger Axelle is appointed to be her guardian and moves her to New Orleans. Thais is pretty much left to her own devices and enrolls herself into the local school where she accidentally bumps into Clio for the first time. Obviously this then changes both of their lives forever...
I really enjoyed this book. It took a little while to get going and I am really looking forward to reading the next one as it left on such a cliffhanger. It was good fun and appeals to me because of the witchcraft content, the teenager characters (even though I am nearer thirty then twenty sadly) and the easy-to-read style. The supporting characters twist and turn in your mind as to whether they have good or bad intentions towards the twins and the story keeps you guessing. I also liked that Clio and her nan have a deaf cat who can sense vibrations through the floor.
I'm a big Cate Tiernan fan having loved her Wicca/Sweep series so I got this book as soon as I could. I must admit that I found it a bit hard to get into for the first couple of chapters as the pov changes from Thais to Clio (the twin witches in the story) to other members of the Trieze (the coven). I'm glad I perservered cos by the middle of this book I was hooked. This book certainly isn't a copy of her sweep series it's got darker overtones straight from the beginning and the girls are both slightly older making a difference from sweep. The magic in this series is different too but it is still exciting and interesting and as Thais has had no contact with magic til she meets her twin sister by accident we are able to learn about it alongside her without feeling that stuff has been put into the story just to explain to us. I read the second book as soon as I finished this one and i'm online now to pre-order the third. If you liked sweep and cate tiernan than I would definately recommend you buy this one and if you've never heard of her but like supernatural stories then give this one a go! A great start to the series I can't wait for more.
as much as i liked this series, they couldn't live up to Tiernan's previous series Wicca (sweep). However, i have given the series and especially this book 4 stars due to its well developed charaters and storyline. Its a good read and will be a brilliant xmas present for any teenager or adult.