Sharon Bayliss is a huge fan of Harry Potter, but her wizards are definitely something different from JK Rowling’s magical world. And in the best way. As a fellow Potter fan, I’ve been looking for a new take on the wizarding world for awhile, but a fresh one. Maybe even an adult one that also happens to put me through an absolute emotional roller coaster. Sharon Bayliss’s Destruction, the first book in the December People series, definitely fits the bill.
David Vandergraff wants to be a good man. He goes to church every Sunday, keeps his lawn trim and green, and loves his wife and kids more than anything. Unfortunately, being a dark wizard isn’t a choice.
Eleven years ago, David’s secret second family went missing. When his two lost children are finally found, he learns they suffered years of unthinkable abuse. Ready to make things right, David brings the kids home even though it could mean losing the wife he can’t imagine living without.
Keeping his life together becomes harder when the new children claim to be dark wizards. David believes they use this fantasy to cope with their trauma. Until, David’s wife admits a secret of her own—she is a dark wizard too, as is David, and all of their children.
Now, David must parent two hurting children from a dark world he doesn’t understand and keep his family from falling apart. All while dealing with the realization that everyone he loves, including himself, may be evil.
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Imagine the problems a dysfunctional family might encounter. Now imagine those problems on magic. The result? A really great book. Here’s my review:
This book is a whirlwind of emotions right from the start, and continues to build intensity with each chapter. The story starts with a bang as David Vandergraff gets the phone call he has been waiting for and dreading for eleven years–the call that tells him what happened to his missing children.
His secret missing children that his wife knows nothing about.
His secret missing children that also happen to be wizards.
As David’s world begins to unravel, he discovers that he wasn’t the only one in his marriage with secrets. His wife Amanda has her fair share as well. And not just that she is also a dark wizard.
This book might have wizards and magic, but the story is in this family and the problems they have, which are very rooted in reality. Their dysfunction makes them feel so normal, but when you add magic to the mix, dysfunction doesn’t cover it. The characters are beautifully flawed, and sometimes do unforgivable things, but you still find yourself rooting for them. The Vandergraff kids aren’t just accessories to David and Amanda’s story, but are integral parts of the whole, and have their own enriching plots that will tug at your heart. The demons they are all facing are more within themselves than some evil wizard out to get them. They are their own villains, which makes the face off with the real villain so much more intense. Even if they win, will they truly win? Or will they be their own defeat?
Right when the plot heads in one direction, Sharon Bayliss throws you for a loop. Predictable is not in her vocabulary, that’s for sure. Definitely a must read, and can’t wait for more.