The Line by J.D. Horn – Review
A thrilling story with magic and mystery, set in the sweltering city of Savannah, where the Taylor family work to protect the magic of the world, and the world from magic. But with such an eclectic mix of personalities in this family, some people are bound to be rubbed the wrong way, including hoodoo worker Mother Jilo, who has more than a few dark spells up her sleeve. As Mercy wonders if her destiny may not be as she thought, a shocking murder will reveal a few secrets that will shock her to the core.
There are some issues with the flow of the language, pacing and the volume of events and characters, so it could have benefited from some editing. But I think it would actually make a great TV show, and I can’t wait to read the next one.
Read on for pros and cons:
The setting. I’m so glad it isn’t New Orleans, because we’ve seen that too many times before. Savannah is just as historical, architecturally significant, and southern enough for the sweltering heat, wealthy families and bloodfeuds galore. However, see cons below.
The character of Mother Jilo. A gangbanging hoodoo rootworker, ruling her patch of territory with a heady measure of respect and fear. A sworn enemy of the Taylor family. A woman, not born to the gift, seeking the power denied to her. What Mercy could become when she realises she can borrow power. Then, the reveal that shatters the expectation of her and takes her from stereotype to subversion. I want to see more of her, and the fact that one of the series is called Jilo gives me a lot of hope.
Mercy wanting a love spell…to make her love her own boyfriend. That was a twist I haven’t seen before.
The Mercy we see at the end is exactly who we want to see, reading the book. She has become strong and secure in her power, ready to take up her mantle but also strive for a normal life. Even if we didn’t totally enjoy the process of getting her there.
The introduction of the character of Gudrun, who in two scenes seemed a lot more menacing than the villainous characters ever were.
The protagonist was a little childish for a 21 yr old. Seventeen maybe. She also had a very clunky way of speaking that didn’t fit her sharply intelligent and insightful character. A little too insightful perhaps, because she seemed to know or figure out stuff about witchcraft and the other characters too quickly. And there was too much space given over to what clothes she was wearing.
The author’s excitement to show so much of Savannah just led to a little too much of an infodump. Same with magic. If something needed explained, it was dumped in by a character’s clunky speech or it turning out Mercy knew about it all along (even though she supposedly was never taught anything about magic).
There was a lot going on. She has a twin sister. They’re witches, but she doesn’t have any magic. She had a fairly abusive childhood. She’s in love with her sister’s boyfriend. She doesn’t really love her own best friend turned boyfriend. She goes to see a hoodoo to make her fall in love with him. Then her aunt gets murdered. And there’s supernatural destiny. And a prophecy. A ghost boy. Demons in the hospital. etc. Some of it could have been excised, because the big moment that comes at the end feels rushed because all of this had to happen before it.
The big moment at the end is too rushed. As above. So it falls a little flat. But I liked the set up for a sequel, with Mercy searching for Maisie.
Too many unnecessary characters. So much so, I can’t remember the names. Pervy guy at the start. Angry cousin who wants to be the anchor. All the family members. The witches who came to set up for the investment ceremony. Then there’s all her family members. Connor was a bit of a cut-out of an abusive father figure and when the reveal came that he was doing it for her benefit all along it fell short, mostly due to his overpowering soliloquy.
Not enough time given over to why Peter loves Mercy, or why Mercy and Maisie loved Jackson, or why Jackson loves Mercy etc. If there’s going to be a love triangle, it needs a bit more fleshed out. The throwaway explanations at the end, especially the reveal that Maisie loved Peter all along, wasn’t enough to address this.
Stray observations (not necessarily cons):
Was she doing her tour guide’s job for fun? Cause she doesn’t do it for three weeks and she’s never once seen calling in sick to work or cancelling bookings. It’s not like she needs the money.
Meh. Swingers club. Storyline doesn’t do it for me. I hope it doesn’t get brought up in the sequel, but I know it will.
How hard did they work to keep her ignorant of magic? Cause it seemed liked she didn’t know really obvious stuff at time, and then had a wealth of knowledge at others.
Ginny was a downright bitch, but it was unfair that she didn’t get any screen time at all to add a bit of depth to her. Also, why didn’t she attempt to kill Mercy at any other point in her life?
Does Mercy have any friends except Peter and her own relatives? She’s friendly with the locals on her tour route, but they’re aren’t her friends. Mind you, I couldn’t have coped with another character.
Having a child with Peter but not getting back with him at the end. It wasn’t an ideal resolution to their subplot, but it mirrored her own story with Ginny nicely. Blaming the baby for the sins of the parents, and for what it could become is what Mercy chooses not to do.