Title: Mark of the Witch
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: The Portal, book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
“She was born to save what he is sworn to destroy...
A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn't believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she's forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira's sacred calling. Yet there's something even Tomas doesn't know, an inescapable truth that will force him to choose between saving the life of thewoman he's come to love-and saving the world.”
Mark of the Witch is the first book in the new series The Portal by Maggie Shayne.
After not finding what she was looking for in life Indira Simon loses her faith and leaves her religion (Wiccan) behind. But her life changes when she starts to experience very vivid dreams, dreams that leave her with marks; Indira knows this is too much for her alone, she needs help. Not knowing whom else to approach she calls her best friend and Wiccan High Priestesses, Rayne. Rayne can’t help Indira with what is happening to her but she knows who is the perfect person for it, her brother, Father Tomas. As the apprentice of Father Dom Father Tomas has been preparing all his life to fight the demon that will bring the end of the world. This demon is supposed to be freed by a witch; to stop the demon they’ll need to stop the witch.
Indira trusts Rayne but doesn’t know if she can trust Tomas or not, her gut tells her she can and without many options she follows her instincts.
After meeting Indira Father Tomas realizes she is the witch he has prepared all hislife to fight, but now that he knows her he doesn’t believe she is the evil person Father Dom thinks she is.
Indira and Tomas realize their connection is one of past Lives, what to do with it is up to them. Tomas will have to decide if to do what he has prepared all his life to do or to trust his heart and help and protect Indira and Indira will have to trust Tomas and find her faith again to be able to do what she must.
Indira is a very likeable character with a good sense of humor and a better sense of fashion. She goes through a lot in this book; at the beginning she is a little bit lost, with many doubts and without an objective in life but thanks to all the things that happened to her she grows a lot in a short period of time. Her first reactions to the dreams were believable but after a while it was too much for her not to believe they were real, that annoyed me a little bit. Another thing that was unrealistic was her lifestyle with a flower shop employee’s salary.
I liked and disliked Father Tomas; he was a bit too wishy-washy for my taste. Even though at the end he proves his worth it was almost a little bit too late for me.
Indira and Tomas relationship is one of past lives; they have reincarnate over and over waiting for the perfect time to be back together. It’s a relationship of trust, forgiveness and redemption.
Since their first encounter their attraction was palpable, but Tomas being a priest made things a little bit complicated but at the same time it helped to build the tension and kept me glued to the pages waiting for the moment they would finally accept their destinies.
I really liked Rayne; she was a real friend and a great sister. She was there for Indira when she needed her most and despite their differences in beliefs she trusted,respected and loved her brother (as Tomas did with her).
As much as I liked Rayne I hated Father Dom, he was such a bigot that it was almost painful to listen to his thoughts and beliefs. Mrs. Shayne’s writing made it clear Father Dom’s beliefs and hatred was his own and not the religion he was representing (Catholicism).
Another thing I really liked was the opportunity to learn more about the Wiccan religion. Reading about it it was pretty obvious the vast knowledge Mrs. Shayne has about this topic.
Mark of the Witch was an entertaining read with a slow start and some minor flaws, but with a new and fresh theme and interesting characters that kept me enthralled through its pages. Mark of the Witch was my first book by Maggie Shayne but it won’t be my last, I’m looking forward to November 20th to the release of the second book of the series, Daughter of The Spellcaster.
If you want to try this series you can start with the prequel Legacy of the Witch. At the moment this review was written it was free on Kindle and on E-Harlequin.
My Verdict: 3 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Legacy of the Witch (prequel)
Mark of the Witch
Daughter of The Spellcaster (Nov. 20th)
Blood of The Sorceress (Jan. 22nd, 2013)