I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Sisters of the Craft #3
Published by St Martin's Press on August 4th 2015
Buy on Amazon, B&N
Reunited after four hundred years, three sisters join together to vanquish the power that tore them apart...and embrace the sorcery that is their birthright.Abandoned as an infant, Willow Black spent her childhood in foster care, the object of whispers and pity...and rumors about being certifiably crazy. Telling your young friends that you can foresee the future-and summon the rain-is a surefire way to end up in the psychiatric ward. But when Dr. Sebastian Frasier arrives at the facility, Willow's whole life takes a turn. Sebastian is the handsomest man she's ever actually laid eyes on-even though he has been in Willow's visions for years. But not even she could have predicted the storm of passion that engulfs them both. With Sebastian by her side, Willow is emboldened to embrace her history, and the sisters she never knew. Soon, the true power in her blood awakes-and the battle she was born to fight begins. While the temp est rages, Willow must depend on the friends and family she's found-and the man she has loved forever...In the final book of this enchanting new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland sweeps readers into a bewitching tale of secrets, sisterhood, and the stunning magic of love.
Smoke on the Water is the second installment of the Sisters of the Craft series.
After many months of build up around the Taggart sisters and the Venatores Mali we finally got to see how the entire story ends. I am actually sad to see this series end. The lack of witchery the Sisters of the Craft series centered around was a breath of fresh air.
“I feel as if I know you,” he said. “Better than I can know you. Like I’ve always known you. Like we were … destined.” “We were.” He shook his head, and my chest began to ache. He was going to deny this, deny us, and then what would I do? “This is…” His lips tightened. “I want to say insane, but it’s … not. What would be insane would be to continue to refute everything I’ve seen, all that we’ve done. All that I feel.” “I’ve been waiting for you,” I said. “I didn’t know it, but I was waiting for you too.”
As with the first novel, the second was centered around Becca who is a normal girl, in a normal town. It appears Handeland turns away from this formula with Smoke in the Water.
Willow is an orphan found beneath a Black Willow tree. She never stays long in any foster home, is branded as insane and ends up in a mental hospital. It is here she meets Mary, a woman who hears voices of a man named Roland who caused her to attempt to kill her son Owen. She also meets the man she has been seeing in her visions since a young age: the man with whom she is meant to fall in love and who will save them all. Her story leads her to meet her sisters Raye and Becca and together they must defeat Roland before he exacts his revenge on the Taggart family.
I enjoyed Owen much more in book three because he seemed much less the soldier from Afghanistan and more the protective fiance of Raye. I felt like as a character Owen was more likeable and had under gone some major character development behind the scenes. Becca is learning how her powers work and struggling to control her newest abilities (spoiler, so I won’t discuss this here). I didn’t feel like Becca made any major developments beyond “forgiving” her parents for saving her from a life in the system as Willow experienced.
While all the characters were more enjoyable in book three, I hated Sebastian. He was a terrible shrink and a terrible person. One of the first things he does as a Director is look at employee files and mentally start tearing down those who work for his institution. He judged his employees on their files and not on work performance which is a grave error for any new Director. The fact that he behaves inappropriately with a patient is even more disturbing. Finally, he’s superficial:
“Zoe looked up from her computer, her eyes appearing goggly through thick lenses. He wondered if she’d talked to anyone about Lasik. He didn’t imagine it was easy to get dates with glasses like that. Being short and pudgy probably didn’t help either.”
Seriously? Such a <i>professional</i>. I get the novels are trying to touch on three very different women with very distinct love interests and I think that’s great. I just didn’t enjoy Sebastian which is personal preference. I like nice people.
Personally, I feel like the Sisters of the Craft could have been stretched into a four book series. The moment Willow and Sebastian get together the whole plot speeds along to the conclusion. I felt like the bonding between the sisters needed more time to develop and Willow’s almost pathetic need to be part of a family really clashed with her “tough” persona. I would have liked a more realistic time period for the relationships between sisters to grow as Heat of the Moment gave us. The sisters don’t even meet Willow until just before they meet up with Roland! I assume this not the author’s fault and only so much could be included in the novel without it being too long.
I definitely expected more Jager-Suchers action. I haven’t read Handeland’s other work, but I’m hoping the Jager-Suchers are a huge part of it so I can get to know the characters affiliated with that group.
This series will appeal to those who enjoy novels involving witchcraft, magic, family discovery, romance and the paranormal. If you’re looking for an easy read that pulls you in and keeps you there until the end, then The Sisters of the Craft series is for you.