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review 2016-06-24 13:10
Jilo DNF?
Jilo (Witching Savannah) - J.D. Horn

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

There's not much I can say about this book. It sounded really interesting when I requested it:

Aged Mother Jilo is wise in the ways of magic…but once upon a time, she was just a girl.

1950s Georgia: King Cotton has fallen. Savannah is known as the “beautiful woman with a dirty face,” its stately elegance faded by neglect, its soul withering from racial injustice and political corruption.

Young Jilo—fiercely independent, intelligent, and ambitious, but thwarted by Savannah’s maddeningly genteel version of bigotry—finds herself forced to embrace a dark power that has pursued her family for generations, an ancient magic that may prove her salvation…or her undoing.

Explore the fascinating history of one of the Witching Savannah series’ most vivid and beloved characters, as the resourceful and determined Jilo comes of age, strives to master formidable magical skills in the face of overwhelming adversity, and forges her strange destiny against the turbulent backdrop of the civil rights struggle in the American South.



I just wasn't able to get into it and I kept finding excuses to not read it. I can't even say why I had trouble connecting with it, which is a shame because going off the synopsis, it sounded really interesting. I'll probably come back to this at a later date and try to read it again, but for now it's being added to my DNF pile.

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review 2016-05-16 00:06
Jilo (Witching Savannah #4) by J.D. Horn
Jilo (Witching Savannah) - J.D. Horn

I’ve liked Jilo as a major character in the Witching Savannah Series as a powerful and clearly complex figure. She has awesome potential and we have a lot of allusions to a long and complex history. The problem is that this series is not about her, it was all about Mercy. Jilo’s relationship with Mercy has been very complex but, on the whole, it has been one of mentor and student. Or an almost maternal relationship. There are times when Jilo even refers to herself as Mercy’s mother figure

 

Of course, that’s a trope. It’s certainly a trope with an elderly Black woman with a young white lady in Savannah.

 

That made this book extremely necessary. It’s a book that focuses not just entirely on Jilo’s history but also on her family history and her magic as well. I think that’s extremely necessary because Mercy’s family has also been very much about her family history and the importance and uniqueness of her magic. By talking about Jilo’s family and relationship with magic we put her on an equal level of importance and value as Mercy

 

It also allows a wonderful expansion of the world building with us seeing magical systems and sources beyond Mercy’s family’s relationship with the Line and the Old Ones – and it’s equally as powerful while being completely different. Jilo’s family’s relationship with the Beekeeper and the old powers is only tangentially created related to the kind of magic that Mercy’s family practices. This shows there is magic beyond Mercy’s magic and that there are magical struggles and storylines that do not involve them. This is not Jilo playing a part in Mercy’ storyline. This is not Jilo living a lesser for of Mercy’s storyline. This is Jilo having an entirely separate magical storyline which doesn’t involve the Taylor family at all

 

Jilo’s family history goes back 3 generations – and it goes back 3 generations of Black people in Savannah, following them through the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and onwards. While this includes a lot of fascinating insight into the magical system and the desperate struggle each generation has faced to try and turn away from magic but inevitably be drawn back, it is equally a story of race in America and it permeates every element of the family’s story including the supernatural elements

 

We have rich white sorcerers who feel entitled to Jilo’s family’s magic and service, who constantly exploit and use them every generation and get away with it due to their wealth and race and power. As antagonists they are inherently people who force Jilo’s family to turn to magic time and again because in a system that makes them so vulnerable how else can the possibly protect themselves?

 

While that’s a common driving force for them seeking magic or being forced to resort to magic so is the simple realities of living in a racist, segregated time. The magic they have to turn to too survive not just against threats – but also economically. There’s Jilo’s grandmother, raising 4 young girls and increasingly too old to perform the hard physical labour of cleaning – magic, despite all her misgivings, provides an income when she has few other options.

 

That’s a definite part of Jilo’s own storyline that is defined by this. A single mother with no income and no chance to use her education. And she had an education and brilliant ambitions – but not chance to become the doctor she dreamed as a Black woman (flatly told that there were very few chances for Black doctors – and those choices should go to Black men who can actually help their community). Even her accent that seemed so stereotypical in the main books is revealed to be creation, along with the whole persona of “Mother Jilo”. In all, Jilo is a brilliant woman from a line of brilliant women – intelligent, wise, capable and determined – facing insurmountable obstacles and carrying on.

 

I also like that while race permeates their story, it isn’t the only obstacles they have faced, and it’s above and beyond the magical obstacles they face. They have both economic hurdles and even as simple as Jilo’s terrible terrible taste in men who have used her and failed her and exploited her time and time again. Jilo has led a hard life, not just from magic and not just from being Black but also from being a Black woman and with more than a few men willing to use her. Including these excellent lines when a man asks if Jilo’s child is his:

 

 

Read More

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/05/jilo-witching-savannah-4-by-jd-horn.html
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review 2016-04-17 19:40
The Void (Witching Savannah #3) by J.D. Horn
The Void (Witching Savannah Book 3) - Bernd Horn

Mercy doesn’t have time to focus on her pregnancy – not with the ongoing hostility of the Anchors, the return of her highly dangerous sister and the plotting of an ancient and terrifying witch, danger abounds

 

But so do revelations – both from the family’s darker past as well as about the very nature of the line, of magic, of the fae and of her husband – there’s a lot of Mercy to take in and all of it has dire consequences for her family. And for her child.

 

 

 

The book almost confuses me, or, rather my reactions confuse me. In some ways, I think that the story is almost too convenient and too full. Like Peter – what happens to him and how he leaves the story. Or Maddy and, after so much emotional turmoil then handing over such a perfect solution to resolve the issues her presence raised. Or the conflict Jessamine rose, again settled very neatly

 

And the ending itself, a wonderful convenient way of resolving just about everything and all conflicts.

 

However, maybe this is just because I’m so used to unresolved plot lines being left hanging for book after book after book that I can’t even see a closed, resolved storyline without thinking it’s somehow convoluted or simplistic. Because each one of these storylines came with either an excellent advancement of the world setting, some great emotional development or some excellent emotional questioning

 

Like the introduction of Jessamine led to the whole development of Gehenna, the introduction of the idea of magical constructs creating and maintaining the world as well as a whole lot of family history disrupting a lot of Taylor sacred assumptions (I can’t say I could empathise with any of them myself as I’m not sure I would have cared as much about their outrage but then I don’t have the same sense of family history and family name that they do).


The whole Peter storyline and him being fae allowed the whole world building, the nature of the fae and the nature of the line be introduced and developed. It allowed us a very natural, very smooth way to see a lot more of the mechanics behind the world, how the line was created and the whole history of witches. It offered a whole lot world building in an extremely natural fashion without any issues of convoluted info-dumping


And Maddy, she offered a lot of complexity – especially as her whole story was teased out and her history which led a lot of questioning of whether she’s a villain, a victim, whether she needs to atone, whether she can atone and whether she even knows how to fit in the world any more: especially when her passionate loyalty to Mercy making her actually dangerous since she has no middle ground, no reservations and no subtlety. Handling her becomes a massive moral complexity all on its own – as does managing their murderous half-brother                          

 

These moral complexities are the kind of things that have been an ongoing theme of the series, ever since Mercy woke up and experienced her magical nature and the magical world. Everything is complicated, nothing is how it originally appeared, everything needs to be questioned and the villains are never as evil as you think while none of the friends or allies are as perfect as you’d like them to be even when they are beloved family.

 

It’s complicated and I still just can’t pin down how I feel about it with the levels of complexity, the characters and their layers, the evolving world and Mercy trying to find her path through this all with her pregnancy, the other magical families, her mother and the many other threats that are assailing her from every side. It’s complex and difficult yet also all ends so very neatly… perhaps too much so.

 

 

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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/04/the-void-witching-savannah-3-by-jd-horn.html
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review 2014-11-12 00:00
The Void (Witching Savannah, Book 3)
The Void (Witching Savannah, Book 3) - J. D. Horn

Mercy and Peter are happily married and looking forward to the birth of their son. Unfortunately, it seems everyone has it out for Mercy right now, and her life is consistently being put in danger. The other anchors of The Line want to take her out, afraid of the power she holds, and their fear that she will be responsible for taking down the line down and letting loose all the old Gods and Demons to return to our world. Not only that, but severed body parts have begun to show up scattered all around Savannah, all with dark magic attached. The Taylor family, in their usual close-knit fashion, have bound together to protect Mercy, while at the same time trying to get to the bottom of these horrible slayings and figure out the meaning behind them.

The third and final installment in the Witching Savannah trilogy ends with a bang! There are all sorts of twists and turns that will keep the reader on their toes. Whether you'll like all those twists and turns however, I can't truly say. Like the previous books in the series, the story really draws you in. It's fast moving, the characters are well developed, and the writing gives you a spectacular feeling of place, as if you're walking the streets of Savannah yourself. I was happy to see Jilo make a minor re-appearance here as well as she was definitely one of my favorite characters.

The story shifted drastically about halfway through however, and many readers may be disappointed they're not getting the nicely wrapped-up ending they were seeking. I did find it a bit unsettling myself at first, but after awhile, I resigned myself to what was going on and then was pleasantly surprised with how it all turned out, especially after I'd been expecting the worst. Overall, I quite enjoyed the Witching Savannah series and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good ole southern witchy tale.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, 47North, for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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text 2014-05-22 04:59
The Source -
The Source - J.D. Horn

I have to get my act together and do a series review on the blog first for this series. I absolutely love this whole book!

 

"A hundred years ago, such a think as a witching hour still existed"

 

I read this book way past the normal Witching Hour and am so in love with the writing. I think one of the biggest surprise to me is when I would close it I would see it is written by a male author. I know I know, who cares but when you read this you will see what I mean. Women characters written by men can be done fine and believable. But when a book confuses me to the point of taking a double take over and over I have to give hats off.

 

Reviews coming later!

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