Thea Lavelle has a lot to juggle: a teaching career that is ramping up, keeping tabs on her globetrotting family and fine tuning her craft.
Thea is a hereditary witch whose gift came late. She’s still learning exactly what her wayward magic can do, but on meeting Marc, her best friend’s brother, she soon discovers her magic has some firm ideas about it wants.
The fates have been pushing Marc back home, to the bay of his teenage years. He knows that grief and guilt have left him burnt out, and that his family’s particular skill with healing is the best place for him.
He’d left home not knowing what he was searching for. Could it be that she’d been in Langston Bay all along?
Thunder Moon is the first in a trilogy of love, family and age-old magic.
Since this is the debut of Joanne Mallory, I tend to give her the benefit of the doubt. Thunder Moon is a promising story, but I kind of felt hungry afterwards. It’s like going to a fast food restaurant, seeing al those wonderful pictures of gigantic hamburgers, and after receiving your little package, you are still wondering whether that hamburger of the picture and the little thing in your box bear even a small hint of resemblance.
Back to the story of Thea and Marc. The ingredients are there, a troubled soldier and a lovely witch, both drawn to each other by an invisible force. The picture being drawn is very promising, with Marc coming home after an incident with a patient in the army. Traumatized, confused and in need of care. And drool worthy. (Getting the picture, already?) And then there is Thea, with her dog Murphy. Thea is a witch, drawing her powers from the elements (water, fire, earth and wind), or more precisely: the elements are reacting to her emotions and feelings. She and her dog Murphy have a special relationship. It’s not very clear whether they can communicate by telepathy or something, but Murphy is more than your regular dog.
So we have an instant attraction, sparks flying everywhere, secrets, magic and emotions all over the place. Then why is this story not fulfilling? Well, for one, the story is very short. So Joanne has little time to give the characters enough depth and history. Secondly, the healer powers of Marc and the witchy part of Thea are part of the story, but they are only a sort of snack-on-the-side (to keep into food analogies). It’s like you order a big juicy steak and you have a small bowl with vegetables on the side: who needs green if you have a big steak on your plate? In potential Joanne could have done much more with this aspect. But maybe she’s saving for part two and three.
And thirdly, when the pace of the story (finallly) picks up, it kind of ends very rapidly. So yeah, in the end we finally understand the background of the invisible forces at work. But that’s it? Again: it’s like you ordered a cheeseburger and you find out half way through your burger, that they forgot the cheese.
But enough with the negativity, because in the end: although the fast food is leaving you feeling somewhat dissatisfied and hungry, you still go back next time. So yeah, I’ll be waiting for the second and third part of this trilogy to come out and satisfy my cravings.
Three out of five stars for Thunder Moon, with a thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing
Published: January 2017