Monday, November 21, 2011
New England Witch Chronicles by Chelsea Bellingeri- Review
Modern day witches in Hazel Cove, Massachusetts? Unlikely, but strange things are occurring in the weeks preceding Alex’s seventeenth birthday, which also coincides with her family’s annual Halloween party. Alex is haunted by bizarre reoccurring nightmares of a man chasing her through the Hazel Cove Cemetery. On a few occasions, when her emotions have spiraled out of control, inanimate objects have shattered around her. But that’s just a coincidence, right? Alex isn’t so sure, especially after a local girl, who supposedly dabbled in witchcraft, was killed in the nearby forest.
Alex knows something strange is happening to her. With the arrival of a new boy in town, the mischievous James Van Curen, who is making her life difficult and causing problems between Alex and her best friend, Peter, Alex feels like her entire world is on the verge of chaos. Could Alex really be a witch? Is it possible Hazel Cove will become a battleground for modern day witches and witch hunters?
Despite some editing issues that bugged me, I was totally engrossed in Chelsea Bellingeri's Debut novel. It had excellent momentum, an interesting twist at the end and a cliff hanger setting up book 2. There was a lot of excellent potential here and my hope is that the second book finds a good publisher or at least an independent editor to iron out some of the rough spots.
Why, you ask? I found there to be a lot of inconsistencies that were disconcerting and sometimes confusing which took away from both her character development as well as from the ambiance and sense of environment. For instance, James Van Curen. He arrives in town as the hot boy who's wanted by everyone but Alex, yet is only interested in Alex. He is completely rebuffed by her, and then forces himself on her. She's furious, but yet she's promptly letting him in to her house and idly chit chatting with him 24 hours later, annoyed that he won't apologize but otherwise unconcerned (although she's at home alone). It is hard to understand or sympathise with a character who swings back and forth like that especially if there is no good reason.
As far as the town goes there are similar inconsistencies. It's described as a small town, though with two high schools (so not that small), but the parameters of its size seems to be constantly changing in the references to it. At points it seems as if everything is in close walking distance and then at other times it seems the characters are driving quite far to get places. Also, late into the story you find out there is a "dangerous" docks area, full of undesirables, which seems to really contradict how small a town this is.
My biggest beef was that Alex's "in the know" Grandmother is contacted at the end of the story and told that several someones made a serious attempt on Alex's life, and although earlier in the story she was offended Alex took the bus to see her and insisted she should have called for a ride, does not jump in the car to come to her ASAP. Especially since she's aware her daughter is an alcoholic and Alex is alone in her house.
In the end The New England Witch Chronicles was a gem in the rough for me. It had enough drama and pull to keep me actively engrossed but could really use some honing by a loving editor, in my opinion.
The New England Witch Chronicles, By Chelsea Bellingeri
Published June 2011
Buy New England Witch Chronicles on Amazon