I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This urban fantasy is a paperback edition that was published by Berkley Trade on October 28, 2014 and has 304 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Irish Hearts, Montana Sky, Carnal Innocence, Playing the Odds, Second Nature, One Summer, Nora Robert, Serena * Caine, Daniel * Ian, Rebellion, Alan * Grant, The Witness, The Search, Time and Again, Shadow Spell, The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend, The Perfect Hope, Irish Rebel
Third and last in The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy paranormal romance series and revolving around the O’Dwyer family and their friends. The couple focus is on Brenna and Fin, at last.
Blood Magick switches back and forth between the original Dark Witches three from 1276 back to the three-and-three of today in 2013, and you almost want to cry with the sweetness and the loss. A mostly cozy read with a tight group of friends determined to stop the big bad with a sweet ending. Exactly what we all hope for, and it seems too easy, which isn’t a fair comment as it exactly suits the stories in this series.
There’s a hope here in the story that this time the Dark Witches will prevail, as there is nothing in the stories that say the original three have ever met with a future three. Meetings that feel so normal for neither side seems surprised to see the other. And they’re a chance to calibrate the attack they plan.
It’s a protective group in 2013 with all six of them spending most of their time at Branna’s cottage. It’s mostly for morale and protection while Fin comes over to research spells and possibilities as frequently as possible. They’re all so eager to get this done, pushing only to be held back, for safety, for love. It’s a trope that I like. Why is it that some tropes are accepted, embraced even while others make me want to retch and turn away? That could be an interesting study to undertake. Find out what bugs me and what excites me. In this case, it’s Fin needing to give protection whether Branna wants it or not. He realizes she can protect herself, but he has a need to give it, to protect her. The truth of it is that women also have that need to give protection whether their men want it or not.
Fin is such a part of them, and he will pull Connor and Boyle in much closer. It’s sweet to see the love and trust among them as well as Fin’s desire to ensure everyone’s safety. Although, for all the going on about safety, of Fin’s comment that they’ll all be fully vigilant, they still go off on their own into the woods at different times where Cabhan goes after them.
It’s in their explorations and research that they learn the awful truth behind Cabhan’s evolution into what he is. The steps and sacrifices he made to achieve it. If ever there’s an evil that needs to be stamped out! We also learn more about Fin’s foretelling. His reasons for purchasing Aine, his “seeing” Iona. It’s here that we learn what Fin has been up to, the why of all the traveling he’s done.
For his part, Cabhan knows how to twist the knife in each of them, and it’s a treat to see how each of them respond. It’s interesting to realize that there’s a trope in their confrontations, with how the six respond to him. It must also be a truism as bad guys all seem to have the same blind spot.
We do finally albeit slowly learn why it is that Branna pushed Fin away. Roberts dribbles out bits and pieces until it all does come together. It makes sense, but what Branna finally realizes makes even more. It’s enough to cancel out my frustration with Fin’s going on and on about how miserable he is with the wanting he has for Branna. What he’ll have to do to survive the loss of her when they end Cabhan.
I have to laugh with Meara as one of her greatest dreams has come true about her mother.
I love the sound of Fin’s house, and even more, I love his reasons for building as he has. Talk about love… The truth of what Fin feels, what Branna feels comes out.
Here’s a clever bit with Roberts giving a sense of continuity, of life going on after the story ends as she scatters bits of future planning. Of Brian perhaps wanting to learn how to handle the hawks. Of Connor’s plans to incorporate hawking with the rides. Of Fin’s plans to pull in Boyle and Connor. Of marriages in the village, their plans for Fin’s newly spare cottage. It’s a beautiful way to provide an epilogue without specifying it as one.
Roberts pulls it all together and warms us with the food, the meals they share, their spats, and their joys.
The call has come. Brannaugh, Eamon, and Teagan must return to Mayo to face Cabhan. The girls are lucky in that their men refuse to be left behind.
It’s the same in our time with Fin, Branna, Connor, Meara, Iona, Boyle, and Mary Kate refusing to step back but to support each other.
It will take them all to work, to struggle, to survive what’s coming.
Branna O’Dwyer is the older sister with the power to heal with her own Kathel. She runs a shop in town, the Dark Witch, which Eileen manages. David Watson is an old lover.
Finbar Burke is a descendant of Cabhan’s and the primary reason Branna pushed him away. His power links to all three: horse, hound, and hawk. He owns the stables and hawks where Conner, Meara, Iona, and Boyle work. Bugs is a stable dog Fin takes to his heart; Romeo is the office manager’s spaniel. Merlin is his hawk and Baru his horse. Sassy is a hawk he helps train and with whom he bonds. Caesar is another of the horses.
Branna’s brother Connor and his fiancée, Meara Quinn, are together (read Shadow Spell, 2) as is their cousin Iona who shares her ancestor Teagan’s affinity for horses and rides her own Alastar and who is engaged to their friend Boyle McGraff (read Dark Witch, 1). Connor runs the falconry school and has his own Roibeard with an affinity for hawks as his ancestor Eamon did. Boyle runs the rental stables where Meara and Iona work as guides and instructors.
Maureen is Meara’s sister who has been resisting their mother coming for a visit. Nan, Mary Kate, Iona’s grandmother, is coming for Yule; she’ll be staying with her friend in the village, Margaret Meeney, a retired teacher. Patrick was Mary Kate’s husband. Sean is one of Fin’s stablemen. Brian is another who may want to learn more about hawks.
Kyra is one of the girls in the village. Riley has a bad habit of running into fists. Tim Waterly owns a horse farm in Sligo. Cecile is the caterer. Alice has her eye on Fin. Minnie O’Hara seems to be the village gossip, and she knows that Young Tim went off to serenade Lana Kerry. Violet Bosette is the one who heaved the old boot. Mrs. Baker gets a boost that will help her cope with her sick and complaining husband.
Sorcha was their mother who gave up her life to give all her power to her three children: Brannaugh, Eamon, and Teagan. Daithi was their father, also murdered by Cabhan.
Brannaugh is the oldest with the power to heal and is married to the supportive Eoghan. They have two children with another on the way: Brin, a son, and Sorcha, a daughter. The child to come will be called Clara. Kathel is her faithful hound.
Eamon has still not married for his heart is not in Clare. Roibeard is his hawk, and he’ll ride Mithra back.
The pregnant Teagan has recently married Gealbhan. She still has her Alastar.
Ailish is the cousin with whom they lived just after Sorcha’s death. Seamus, Mabh, Conall, and Lughaidh (he’s the youngest and last of their cousin’s children) are all cousins.
Cabhan is the dark sorcerer they are all determined to destroy before he can destroy them.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a sweet picture in pastels of a gray stone cottage with multi-paned windows, shutters, and a cottage garden with surrounding woods encircling the house. Kathel is standing next to the approach to the house, a dark sentinel protecting. The title is an embossed silver against a gradated purple background, a sign suspended between a pair of scrolled hangers.
The title is what the three realize they’ll need to destroy their enemy: Blood Magick.