In an alternate San Franciso, a young man named Vincent Fairchild wakes up with no memory of the night before. But, that’s not a real problem. The real problem is the new assignment he’s been given by Madam Munroe, one of the powerful witches in charge of the local Congress of Witches where Vincent and his friend, Rutger, work as mediators between the witches and the mundane humans. She wants him to go to an island and find a missing relic of great power stolen by a rogue witch who is now dead.
Less than a day after waking up, Vincent’s friend is missing, he has an assignment, a new partner — the Weather Witch, Margaret — and a purpose. Unfortunately, nothing is ever easy. The witch’s widow and child, Rafe, don’t want them there; the lighthouse is located on a perpetually wet island; Rafe isn’t a child, but a grown man who takes an instant dislike to Vincent and Margaret; and then it turns out the widow, Rafe, and the deceased witch are in the middle of a feud with the local non-island dwelling witch population.
Oh, and Rafe is handsome, powerful, and blind. Which means he won’t be swayed by Vincent’s beauty, his dazzling smile, or his snazzy clothing. Instead, Vincent have to rely on, of all things, his personality.
It’s going to be a long weekend.
Vincent is the only magical person in his family, and thus an embarrassment. So they cast him off — but not out — giving him access to the family money and name, but not inviting him to dinner or visits home. Vincent is fine with that, enjoying everything the city has to offer, including drinks, parties, and young men. However, it feels like that is pretty much all there is to him. He comes across lazy, spoiled, entitled, and not too bright. That’s not to say he’s unintelligent, but he’s seems too lazy to do much thinking or asking. He just assumes and then pokes Rafe for some attention. For example, something happened to Vincent in those lost moments. Apparently, he used his magic on a living person — which isn’t possible. His magic works on inanimate objects, which he has the ability to turn into other things for roughly an hour: a coin into a key, a wrench into a sword. But somehow, he turned a person into a dog. This should be a big deal, but instead, he doesn’t seem to think about it ever again. His friend is missing? Ok, now off to an adventure! Rafe was blinded by powerful magic? Oh. That’s kind of sad. Vincent relies on the plot to move him along. He doesn’t have growth through the book, and while he takes an occasional action, it feels like it’s only ever at the behest of the plot. Personally, I found him to be surprisingly boring and without much of a personality, which makes the story a bit of a chore, because it’s all told from his indifferent feeling point of view.
Rafe is a young man who has very strong Earth Magic; astonishingly strong. He’s paranoid, protective of his mother, cautious, intelligent, and active. If someone’s causing trouble for his mother, Rafe’s going to want to go beat them up to show them how that’s a bad idea. He has no patience for fools, but he’s on a time limit with the magical maguffin needing to be found as quickly as possible. While Rafe attended school, briefly, on the mainland, it hurt him to be away from the island and so he came home and hasn’t ever really left. He’s sheltered, isolated, and gay. Is it any wonder that the first actual male person to flirt with him manages to wiggle through his self-imposed barriers? And is it any wonder that the first man to hold his hand, kiss him, and teach him about sex is now the first person he’s going to fall in love with? So much so that he will now follow Vincent anywhere, do anything he has to to stay with him and protect him. Vincent likes the way Rafe relies on him, needs him, and looks to him for guidance. It’s an understandable relationship, but not one I enjoyed, myself.
The writing is steady, the pacing lingers a bit here and there, but didn’t drag too much for most of the book. However, the plot feels all over the place, with a ghost, the magical maguffin, the evil witches, the kidnapping, the many blows to the head, the many attempted murders … it just goes on and on. The final 10% of the book felt rushed, with a lot of action packed into those final pages, and the ending was telegraphed a little too heavily, for me.
This is an unobjectionable book and my main dislike is the character (and some of the plot), not the writing or the author. I’d be curious to see what the author has up their sleeve for future books, but this book just didn’t do it for me.