Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: DESTRUCTION By Sharon Bayliss

Given the choice between reading 'children's' books (picture/YA/MG) or 'adult' books, I'll pick the children's book almost every time. I like children's fiction because it's raw and full of wonder and nothing is taken for granted–regardless of the genre. Children's fiction is filled with magic of every kind. I'm sure there are books for adults that are full of wonder, that do have magic, but it's a lot less common in my experience.

So I was wonderfully surprised by Sharon Bayliss' DESTRUCTION. It's for grown ups–it's about grown up things, family and mortgages and adultery and abuse. But it's also about magic.

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.

What's fascinating about this book is how seamlessly it integrates magic into the real world. No dart behind the Leaky Cauldron is necessary to find magic. It's in David's house, intwined in his family's DNA. There's no on/off switch. The Vandergraff's live steeped in it, whether they know it or not.

The depiction of family life–and the complicated additions to that family–are completely engaging. Sharon does a stellar job of getting us to care for eight distinct family members of wizards, imbuing them with motivation, soul and mile-wide-streaks of bad choices that make the wizards very human. That's another thing I loved about these characters - especially a flawed character like David. No one wears the white hat. That's what makes this book so intriguing.

DESTRUCTION challenged me. It was unpredictable and a hell of a ride. Nothing came easy for these characters and the resolution was one that I didn't see coming but, when it came, made perfect sense.


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The Author

Sharon Bayliss is the author of The December People Series and The Charge. When she’s not writing, she enjoys living happily-ever-after with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and playing in the mud (which she calls gardening). She only practices magic in emergencies.

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