Review: Destruction (The December People #1) by Sharon Bayliss
Author: Sharon Bayliss
Series: The December People #1
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: April 14, 2014
Format/Source: eARC/From Author
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. (Cover photo and synopsis from Goodreads.)
A Different Kind of Magical Tale…
Honestly, I haven’t read that many books about wizards and witches. I mean, I LOVE Harry Potter–it will forever be my favorite series–but other than that, I haven’t read too many other books that focus solely on witches and wizards. I’ve read several fantasy books that deal with magic, and I have read a few other books that deal with wizards and witches, but mostly I gravitate more towards science fiction stories or contemporaries, rather than fantasy novels. But that’s not to say I don’t like them–I just love sci-fi even more.
And even though I haven’t read too many witch/wizard novels, Destruction still feels like a different kind of story to me. For one thing, it’s an adult novel and I normally read YA, and also this story has a lot to do with family, whereas a lot of magical stories (or at least the ones I’ve read) deal with romantic relationships more than those of a family. And the witches and wizards themselves, as well as the type of magic they use, seem unique in Destruction as well. It was cool to be introduced to these characters, some of which have no idea they can even do magic, and learn along with them about this world that is hidden amid our own world.
Strong Plot and Characters…
I really liked that, from the beginning, David is not perfect. He cheated on his wife years ago and never told her about it, and along the way he continues to make mistakes that really hurt him in the long run. I love when characters evolve, but I also love when flawed characters remain flawed with those same characteristics. It’s not realistic for characters to suddenly fix all their flaws, and I loved that while David realized his mistakes, and did evolve as a character, he was still realistically flawed at the end.
And I liked all the interaction between all the characters. They all behaved slightly differently, depending on their background and their personalities, and it made for a very dynamic household. And all the kids aren’t perfect, either. Some are definitely extremely affected by their past, and some end up being completely surprising, and not always in a good way.
As for the plot, I was pulled in right away. I cared about these characters from the beginning, felt so horrible for some of the things that they went through, was excited as they learned to use their powers, and was anxious as the suspense and action grew. Some of the events that take place aren’t really resolved, but because this is the first book in a series, I’m assuming that the majority of them will be brought up again in detail in the following books.
Sharon Bayliss gets some of my bonus points for the following reasons:
- Destruction takes place in the Houston area, and I grew up in that area, so I loved all the references to Houston/Texas places, like Conroe, Schlitterbahn, and Pappadeaux. 50,000 points.
- A Star Wars reference = 50,000 points
- A Harry Potter reference = 50,000 points